Northern Cape Premier elect Dr Zamani Saul has his work cut out for him. The current Provincial African National Congress (ANC) chairperson has been announced by the ANC NEC as the preferred candidate to lead the Northern Cape government.
The youth, the elderly and business already have a list of their expectations for Saul, including dealing with youth unemployment and poverty.
Saul believes that he is capable. “I firmly believe that if I am called upon, it is simply because people see that I’m capable to do it.”
It is all eyes on Saul as the incoming premier to prove whether he is in fact capable of running the Northern Cape. Top of the Doctor of Laws to-do list is to ensure the over 40% unemployment rate is dealt with.
Residents say that they want to see action.
“I’m hoping that Zamani comes in and the small talk stops. We start to see action happening.”
ANC Youth League Regional Secretary, Cingani Notuku, says that they are crying out about youth unemployment in the area.
“Elderly people were crying out for youth development. We’re crying out about the unemployment of young people so what is the ANC going to do about the unemployment of young people?”
Kagisho Nkomo, from the Progressive Business Forum, says that young people in business need to be empowered.
“We have majority of young people in business and also generally who are unemployed and who need to be empowered. So we are hoping he’ll open those avenues.”
Saul’s ambitions were first evident when he was ANC Provincial Secretary and later as Provincial Chairperson. Political analyst, Suthelego Matebesi, says the premier position shouldn’t be hard for the 47-year-old.
“He is a formidable leader of the ANC in Northern Cape and I can’t see that he cannot hold those dual roles of being Premier and Chairperson of the province. With all the problems that the province has been facing, I think that Mr Zamani Saul has really tried to consolidate and unify the ANC in the Northern Cape.”
It has not been an easy ride for Saul as the Provincial ANC leader. His elections came with court cases against the party. Some ANC branches also expected his leadership to purge outgoing premier Sylvia Lucas before her term ends. Saul says that they are elected to serve the people, not themselves.
“The perception that we get elected to purge people from government, we get elected because we’ve got this self-cantered drive to occupy government positions is not right. We are not here to serve ourselves, that we are not self-serving. We don’t have an obsession with government positions, that’s not what we were elected for.”
Saul would be the second male premier of the Northern Cape since democracy after the first Premier Manne Dipico.
With him now occupying leadership positions both in government and his party, making one centre of power, it is hoped he will be able to account and provide a much needed leadership role.