South Africa


Asleep at the wheel — President Cyril Ramaphosa, a non-Energizer Bunny

Asleep at the wheel — President Cyril Ramaphosa, a non-Energizer Bunny
Illustrative image | From left: Cyril Ramphosa; The South African Reserve Bank, South Africa's central bank, stands in Pretoria, South Africa; Dipuo Peters; Edward Kieswetter; | (Photos: Pete Marovich for The New York Times | Waldo Swiegers / Bloomberg via Getty Images | Kyra Wilkinson | Freddy Mavunda/ Times/Gallo Images)

Last week’s State of the Nation Address by President Cyril Ramaphosa was an attempt to grab the political initiative, to control at least some of the political messaging ahead of this year’s elections. While his party has imposed boundaries, he still has almost full freedom of action. And yet, he has, somewhat puzzlingly, failed to act. This raises questions about whether he wants to lead South Africa during this difficult period, both at home and abroad.

With a governing party under immense pressure, demands from voters for action and the legal obligations imposed by the Constitution, it would be rational to assume that a sitting president would act decisively.

It is surprising then that in several key issues, President Cyril Ramaphosa has been missing in action.

Perhaps the most public of these issues is the deputy governor vacancy at the Reserve Bank.

Kuben Naidoo left that position on 1 December (he is currently on “gardening leave”). And yet, more than two months later, there is still no indication from the Presidency of who will take over. 

(The Thabi Leoka fake PhD scandal may have caused some of the delay. — Ed)

Worse than that, as Business Day has reported, there has been complete silence on the issue.

Considering that interest rate decisions have an important impact on our economy and the lives of voters, this is extraordinary.

It is completely in the power of the President, and the President alone to act. While the Reserve Bank has a long history of stability, and the vacancy on the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has been filled for now (under the law, the President appoints governors and deputy governors, and the governor himself can appoint members to the MPC), there is still a vacancy at the bank itself.

Then there is the Dipuo Peters situation.

Parliament has confirmed that she is currently suspended as an MP after findings by its Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests. As GroundUp put it, she was found to have been “neglectful in her previous portfolio as transport minister by failing to appoint a group CEO of Prasa, had irrationally dismissed the Prasa board chaired by Popo Molefe (seemingly because it had uncovered R14-million in irregular expenditure), and had authorised the use of Prasa buses for ANC events with payment from the party”.

Most members of this committee were from the ANC and still they arrived at this conclusion.

Yet, even with this damning finding and the Parliamentary suspension, Peters is still a deputy minister for small business development (where her department describes her as having been “born with a purpose to lead and make changes”).

In his State of the Nation Address last week, Ramaphosa proclaimed, “We will not stop until every person responsible for corruption is held to account.”

Unfulfilled promises

How does the fact he has failed to act against Peters stack up against that promise? And against his previous promises, repeated many times, to act against corruption?

There are other examples of such, uhm, infidelity to truth.

Last week, the Presidency confirmed that SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter had agreed to stay on past the formal end of his term in April. When he was appointed, Kieswetter (who has proven that an institution can be reformed with the right leadership) said he would serve one five-year term before retiring.

Now, even the Presidency cannot explain how long he will remain in the position (as News24’s Carol Paton has explained, it appears that none of the people appointed as deputy commissioners at SARS is yet fully prepared for the post). 

What is startling about this, is that appointing someone to a crucial position is an important way of prolonging presidential power. It would be rational to expect any leader with the power to make these appointments, facing the political situation he does, to fill them as quickly as possible.

At the very least, it would show initiative and give voters the impression that he is still interested in governing.

Firing Peters would be a clear sign of a new energy injection in his often-stated but rarely practised commitment to renewal.

It needs to be asked why Ramaphosa, just a few months before South Africa’s most important election in a generation, is not acting and is not even seen to be acting with regard to Naidoo, Peters and Kieswetter.

It appears that he is either unprepared or plain incompetent, didn’t realise what was happening or just doesn’t care about these matters.

This suggests that his private office is not well managed. This impression is strengthened by the fact that Ramaphosa has been consistently late for many of his addresses to the nation.

Could it be that the President has lost interest in governance just as multiple crises are massing like storm clouds on the horizon?

Is Ramaphosa truly committed to being the president of this country?

To defeat Jacob Zuma’s faction at Nasrec in 2017 was an immense achievement that required massive resources and dedication. He put a lot of time and energy into that achievement. Since then, and perhaps after the first burst of energy in 2018, he gradually lost his mojo.

President Cyril Ramaphosa (and his team) – What a Difference 179 Votes Make

In late 2022, just before the ANC’s leadership conference in December, he even came close to resigning over the Phala Phala finding, according to sources around him.

Ramaphosa has said he is committed to fighting these elections and winning them for the ANC.

Putting the same energy into governance above all else would be a way of ensuring victory for his party and delivering on promises he made in his 2017 ascent to power.

As mentioned above, South Africa (and the global community) are in for tough times, with the very fundamentals of modern, accountable governance targeted by nihilist forces all over the world. This country needs a committed leader who will at least try their best to protect our democracy. Cyril Ramaphosa appears to be asleep at the wheel. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Maciek Szymanski says:

    Time for Elon Musk battery!!

  • Graeme de Villiers says:

    ‘ANC uber alles’.
    Ramaphosa has been exposed for his total lack of management or leadership capacity and that his BBE-gifted wealth is just yet another bit of proof that connected cadres and their lackeys are in it for the delicious benefits of the Eat As Much As You Can buffet on the South African gravy train.

    • Michael Thomlinson says:

      Cannot agree more. Ramaphose was always projected to be this hotshot businessman but all his wealth has been created off board appointments where big corporates like Standard Bank needed BEE partners. So he has done nothing, really, to earn his crust other than being window dressing. So it is not surprising that he couldn’t fight his way out of a paper bag and nor make any real decisions because he has never had to stick his neck out. Everything has been handed to him on a plate. Time for him to go!

  • Mike Monson says:

    How would he select who to take action against, out of the gallery of corrupt ANC parliamentarians? Any action would be devastating for the ANC so they prefer to do nothing and hope that their voters don’t notice.

    • Bernhard Scheffler says:

      In Kwazulu-Natal ANC members regularly have other ANC members assassinated. In Port Shepstone, the perpetrator even boasted of his deed, which gained him influence over tenders. Could it be that Ramaphosa has received death threats in case he should try to “clean house” by sacking all corrupt ANC members of his cabinet?

  • Francois le Roux says:

    What a lousy article, I am sorry to say. Grootes takes only three unrelated to SONA examples, which he clearly did not properly investigate, just loading them with suspicion, and then use that to fuel the completely ungrounded narrative that has been going around for a while now, of a president not willing to lead. This is almost a complete mischaracterization of the man, typically citing one of his most misunderstood moments – his one-time intention to resign – which sprang from integrity, not from weakness. Is this even journalism? While I respect Grootes’ role of leading conversations on radio, he should really not compromise that with these tendentious bemoanings on DM.

    • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

      Which bit was showing his integrity – the cash in the couch, or his intention to resign?

      • Francois le Roux says:

        All investigations so far have shown no wrong doing on his part regards Phala Phala. And besides this, there is no pattern of corruption and lying on his part, like with characters with obvious weak integrity, like a JZ and a Trump. But when the parliamentary inquiry did cast a shadow over Phala Phala by questioning, even as it was without conclusive proof, his handling of the affair, he contemplated resigning, as any leader with strong integrity would do.

        • Z N says:

          Chill don’t let emotional love for the guy to make try to feed us bull dung.

          You see nothing wrong with US dollars banked under matrasses and sofas?

          Using a government chopper flying to Namibia to follow the stolen loot?

          Reporting losing dirty dollars to the presidential protection unit which is not meant to be involved in personal skirmishes of criminals who steal dirty dollars from each other.

          Go tell the integrity fairy tale to your granny.

        • Michael Thomlinson says:

          Oh come on Francois. Just the fact that he had an large amount of money in dollars hidden away speaks of some sort of crime that you or I would be chrged with and would be looking at a huge fine or jail time. Don’t forget, also, that he was JZ’s deputy yet he claims that he new nothing and he did nothing. Really? Probably one of the worst presidents we hve had to date in terms of doing nothing and unable to take decisive action when needed.

        • Glyn Morgan says:

          We, The People, do not need “investigations” to see that there is definitely something WRONG with hiding millions in a couch! We can see that he is weak and unfit to run a farm stall, let along a country. His farm stall sold buffalo, but did not deliver!

          No, Ramaphosa and the ANC, are not fit to run South Africa.

    • The Proven says:

      I actually liked the examples Grootes used – because they are examples of RAMAPHOSA not acting, rather than the machinery he commands not acting. It shows a trend of indecisiveness and lethargy that is truly concerning, explaining effectively why so many other cadres get away with corruption.

  • Garth Mason says:

    Ramaphosa is a behind the scenes president. So was Lincoln, but he had incredible presence, could deliver an mesmerising speech, and no one doubted his immense ability.

  • drew barrimore says:

    Ramaphosa’s entire modus operandi is to be “asleep at the wheel” – it’s a form of survival. It has been his style at every non-executive sit-asleep-on-the-board position which he garnered via his links to political power, and it is the defining arc of his vice-presidency and presidency. The most frightening aspect is his creation of a grand, unaccountable ‘PRESIDENCY’, a murky term that encompasses the entire shape-shifting tumor of the office, and which in the next dispensation will have to be dismantled (for the wishful thinker), or strengthened to a level of fascism (for the realist)

  • Wayne Habig says:

    Great to see SG actually taking a stand and not his usual “Is Ramaphosa asleep at the wheel?”.
    Appreciate it. But also “appears” is a softness the president doesn’t deserve. He is. And in contradiction, as ANC president, he has been wide awake and thoroughly committed to enabling more corruption. His decisions and lack of actions in this regard factually PROVE it.

  • Iam Fedup says:

    There’s an old saying in leadership: lead, follow, or get out of the way. (Problem is, I can’t think of one ANC person that actually can lead.)

  • SW Fourie says:

    Thx for the thorough reporting and not holding back.

  • Nick Griffon says:

    The Beatles said it best:
    He’s a real nowhere man
    Sitting in his nowhere land
    Making all his nowhere plans for nobody
    Doesn’t have a point of view
    Knows not where he’s going to…

    And then…
    He’s as blind as he can be
    Just sees what he wants to see
    Nowhere man, can you see me at all
    Nowhere man don’t worry
    Take your time, don’t hurry
    Leave it all ’til somebody else
    Lends you a hand…

    • Andre Louw says:

      Excellent description. Stephen Grootes is too kind. The truth is not that he is asleep at the wheel he is nowhere to be found and the last place to look for him would be at the wheel..

      • Bob Dubery says:

        John Steenhuisen also quoted this song. Like you he omits the line “Isn’t he a bit like you and me?”

        I wish people who are going to use songs to make a political point would consider the entire lyric and try to understand what the song writer was trying to say.

        • Glyn Morgan says:

          The comment was about Ramaphosa, not you or me. Both John and Stephen got it right.

        • Nick Griffon says:

          Bob, I omitted those lines because I am NOTHING like CR.
          I did not earn billions just because I was in the right room, at the right time and because of the political environment at the time.
          I worked for every cent that I have. And then I have to give 40% back this nowhere man so that his nowhere clown government can buy new cars for ministers and majors.

          The fact of the matter is CR was supposedly in charge of the Eskom war room in 2015.
          Did did anything improve? Oh no… We are at stage 6 now, something that was inconceivable back then.
          But then he is also famous for the white man in the boiling pot statement.
          He is also recorded making statements at a Limpopo gathering before the 2019 elections saying: if the DA wins, they will bring back apartheid.

          WHy are you defending a man who keep on protecting criminals in our government

        • Johann Olivier says:

          No, Mr. Dubery. Just a bit of selective quoting is allowed. It makes the point brilliantly. It’s not actually about the actual song or the lyrics, merely some of the descriptive lyrics.

    • Dee Bee says:

      Superbly put! My Air Supply one below is bit long-winded in comparison. What song would you give to other parties? For the EFF, probably Ronan Keating’s “You Say it Best, When You Say Nothing at All”? For the FF+, maybe White Christmas? The DA, I’m thinking Joy Division’s “She’s Lost Control” is apt. MK is definitely ABBA’s “Money, Money, Money”

    • Bob Dubery says:

      John Steenhuisen also quoted this song. Like you he omits the line “Isn’t he a bit like you and me?” I wish people who are going to use songs to make a political point would consider the entire lyric and try to understand what the song writer was trying to say.

  • James Baxter says:

    Please SA voters I beg you to vote for our democracy. Forget our differences in race, tribe, economic status, religion etc. Don’t betray your democracy because this democracy is the only reason I am writing this comment. ANC has failed to guide SA and in the process has turned SA into a drug den, a crime haven, and a generally horrible country with many people becoming worse off. They must be removed from power before they destroy SA even more because they are working with international drug cartels to destroy our families and communities. ANC is not a bad party, they have Naledi Pandora, and Thabo Mbeki but Thabo Mbeki’s ANC is no more. It died in Polokwane or before Polokwane. Please voters vote for other people like Julius, Mashaba, Zille, and others not because you hate ANC but because you love your children, and country. SA should sacrifice ANC on the altar of democracy and like Abraham being called by God to prove his faith, was instructed to sacrifice his son,but was then told to slaughter a goat instead or was it a sheep. Either way I pray that you as the voters divorce yourself from ANC. ANC does not own SA, if you keep ANC in power you are going to destroy SA and your children will not have a country to be born in or to grow up in. ANC are good people like you but they have bad intentions, they are not driven by bad intentions but they no longer have the hunger to provide superior leadership like Thabo Mbeki used to do before he was democratically removed

    • Bob Dubery says:

      Difficult. It’s easy to see who we shouldn’t vote for, but the other choice is much harder. There are not a lot of parties with inspiring leadership, and none that could by themselves overthrow the ANC. A lot of folks have taken onboard the slander that the DA will reintroduce apartheid (they can’t unless the get the Constitution revoked first), and they have Zille railing against “wokeness” and the not very inspiring Steenhuisen. They have members spreading conspiracy theories and senselessly parroting social media memes. ACDP? Fundamentalists who are low on women’s rights and also place their interpretation of scripture ahead of the supreme law of the country. Action SA and even more so the PA have twin streaks of fundamentalism and bigotry. And so on. Chosing the lesser of the evils is not going to be easy.

      • Glyn Morgan says:

        Mostly right, Bob. So what to do?

        Go for the party with the best record of delivery. Which is probably what you wanted in the first place. Leaders come and go, delivery last much longer. It affects your children and they do not care what the present leaders look like or behave. Check out the best city, best province for service delivery. Which party runs them?

        That is, without a chance of disagreement, Cape Town and the Western Province. Run by the DA.

        There you have it, Bob.

    • chris smit says:

      ANC is not a bad party they have Naledi Pandora you say
      I have turned your volume to ZERO

  • I had great hope when CR was appointed. However, there appears to be no one in the ANC who has the ability to fulfill the requirements of the task.

  • Coen Gous says:

    Regardless of what CR says, he remains the most popular politician in SA. Other leaders, like Malema, whom is very influential, can swing votes from young people, but Steenhuisen seems extremely weak, and people like Groenewald really a non-entity

  • Jimbo Smith says:

    Ramapromisa’s total ineptitude pivots on a key fundamental; LEADERSHIP SKILLS, which he does not have and worse still, does not understand. LEADERSHIP 101 key attributes; appoint absolute best skilled and competent people to your top team; at boldly and decisively when confronted with the need to do so, even if not the “popular” thing to do. At all times DO THE RIGHT THING. Does he pass muster on these absolute key triggers; NO!!

  • Jimbo Smith says:

    Ramapromisa’s total ineptitude pivots on a key fundamental; LEADERSHIP SKILLS, which he does not have and worse still, does not understand. LEADERSHIP 101 key attributes; appoint absolute best skilled and competent people to your top team; act boldly and decisively when confronted with the need to do so, even if not the “popular” thing to do. At all times DO THE RIGHT THING. Does he pass muster on these absolute key triggers; NO!!

  • Paul Nogueira says:

    Phala Phala is the albatross around his neck; a burden that takes half a man to bear. You are commenting on the productivity of the other half of the man, which is necessarily way below par.

  • What a circus! Does anybody care? Aslong as there is fruit to pluck, it will be plucked from the low hanging branches.

  • Andre Tait says:

    You can see on his face. He doesnt want this job. He thought it would be cool and a great achievement to become president but now he’s there he doesnt like it and would rather be sitting in his mansion in DA run Cape Town and playing golf with those terrible white monopoly capitalists. I dont blame him. Who would want that job?

  • John Pearse says:

    Could he be deliberately playing for time on all these fronts until after the election when he could put himself in a position to choose unlikely partners and really turn the country around? This could be part of the coalition package? Love him or hate him, have a sense that he understands how to break the logjam better than most and finally create a legacy. Ever the optimist I’m afraid.

  • Ingrid F says:

    I have a feeling that Cyril Ramophosa wants the ANC to lose the next elections, because he’s not strong enough, or disloyal enough to his ANC comrades to reign them in, fire them, retire them, or get them prosecuted for all the corruption, and the absolute destruction of our beautiful South Africa.

    He’ll rather get the voters to do the dirty work for him.

    On the other hand, the levels of comatose states, deep sleep, sleep walking, living in an alternative reality, hypnosis, zombie states, brain dead-ness, etc are exceedingly high. I suspect the only things that the ANC cadres are doing these days are sleep, eat, toilet visits, shop for more Gucci, get dressed and undressed, and during all these activities, they sleep-walk.
    Cognitive actions are completely invisible, just like them. Are the Ministers and Deputy Ministers all still alive, I wonder ? Not even a peep from them, except from Angie and Naledi, and on the rare occassions one or two others.

  • Ian Gwilt says:

    He is not going to rock any boat or pee off any faction before the election, smile, say nice things , kick the can down the road and worry ( or not worry) about the shitstorm when you see who you have to become allies with later.

  • John Miller says:

    Tragically, President Ramaphosa is out of his depth, as scared to make a decision as a rabbit staring into bright lights. He should do the honorable thing and step down. He is useless as a President and has led SA into the arms of all the enemies of the west – Russia, Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah etc. As a result, SA will suffer economically, is likely to be booted out of Agoa and shunned by countries whose support we need. Meanwhile, at home, nothing is getting fixed – think Transnet, Eskom, our harbors, schools, water reticulation – the list goes on. Thanks to him SA is like a cork in a turbulent sea – directionless. Not only is his lack of leadership tragic – it will affect every SA citizen for years to come. Cry the once beloved country.

  • Barbara Mommen says:

    No Stephen Grootes, I beg to differ. He is not asleep at the wheel, he is snoring in the back seat, not even awakened by some really big bumps in the road.

  • Geoff Coles says:

    Ramaphosa could simply fire Peters and not fill the position….. in fact suspend or fire all those Ministers and MP’s tainted by Zondo…… he can do it!

  • Frank Fettig says:

    The wheel has come off long, long ago…

  • phophi says:

    Squirrel has been incompetent from the first day he became the president. His main mandate is to ensure that every cadre has enough space at the feeding trough. United they loot, divided they fall!!

  • Henri Staub says:

    Wise words thank you. But if the ANC lose their majority, they will form a coalition with the EFF. This would be an alliance with the devil that would put the final nail in the coffin of RSA.
    Malema has already voiced his ambition to reclaim land ownership without compensation & nationalise banks. He does not begin to understand the fundamentals of sound economic policy despite calling his party EFF. The 20% who vote for him are equally uneducated.
    RSA should be the Singapore of Africa but instead, it is spiralling to the bottom of the barrel because of it’s incompetent & corrupt leadership.

  • Annie Conway says:

    Maybe he’s just a tired old man? People clinging to power at all costs has cost many a country dearly. Haven’t we already paid too much for this pitiful show of a government?

  • Punctured wheel, he’s applying his mind…

  • Colin Braude says:

    Comparing CR2017 and JZ783, the former is definitely more suave.

    But on important matters, SA is worse off under him: unemployment, crime, corruption, loadshedding are up; the economy, education, transport, accountability are down.

    JZ783 giggled, ducked, dived and stalingradded, but CR2017 simply lies or kicks the can down the road (appoints a commission or makes yet more promises).

    Strange to almost be missing JZ783.

  • VW M says:

    Is an ANC president even allowed to make his own decisions? Isn’t he just a puppet of the party?

    • Bob Dubery says:

      Forget about the ANC, this is a dilemma that faces leaders in many countries, and will face leaders of other parties in SA. Do you think that Sunak, for example, doesn’t have to balance his own vision with what he believes will find support within his party? Sure, he doesn’t need their say-so for any action he takes, but if he goes against the grain too often then there will be an attempt to remove him as leader of the party. Thatcher was removed by her own party in the end. Some might say that this is a good thing, that the party can put some restraints round a President/PM who is seen to be acting rashly.

      It will be trickier if a coalition takes power. Now that President will have to keep multiple parties on side. Can’t mention marriage equality or birth control because that will upset the ACDP. Has to watch his Ps and Qs when talking about immigration in case Mashaba is displeased. At best they will reach a consensus decision behind closed doors and hope that the President sticks to that and the MPs support it.

  • John Patson says:

    Ok, he is an executive president and can execute decisions.
    But the real problem with “corruption” is that to be fair, someone should be dismissed when it is proved. Sure, suspend them when under investigation, but the principle of innocent till found guilty by law, should, always, be upheld.
    And for various reasons, the SAP and other para-police bodies are not up to the job of proving corruption because they were the first to be destroyed, back in Mandela’s day.
    Remember the advice of the British police bodies which was ignored ?
    It went far beyond getting rid of military ranks in what is meant to be a civil police force. All the bits about the interaction between the courts, the government, the people and the police were also thrown out in favour of a slightly modified return to the apartheid police force.
    There was the State Capture inquiry, but it had no judicial powers, so its findings blow in the wind till the courts act, and the courts cannot act without good policing.
    President Ramaphosa should have put his efforts into reforming the police, but they are the hardest nut of all and he did not touch them.
    No police and ANC corruption thrives.
    That, in my analysis is the problem.

  • Kevin Venter says:

    Asleep at the wheel? He has yet to even get into the bus let alone be asleep at the wheel. That bus is currently flying down a greased mine shaft with no driver. Hitting the bottom of the shaft is imminent and that is when the real fun and games will start.

  • Fernando Moreira says:

    Blah blah blah very tiresome ,repetitve, soft narrative
    Vote DA ..simple


    It seems those who wanted to loot more prevented him from resigning

  • Dee Bee says:

    An election anthem for Cyril and the ANC (with deepest apologies to Jim Steinman and Air Supply):
    I know just how to whimper
    And you know I am so sly
    I know just where to find the answers
    And I know just how to lie
    I know just how to fake it
    And I know just how to scheme
    I know just when to about face the truth
    And then I know just when to dream
    And I know just where to clutch you
    And I know just what you lose
    I know when to push you under
    And I know when to cast you loose
    And I know the light is fading
    And I know Mzanzi’s gonna die
    And I’m never gonna tell you everything I gotta tell you
    And I won’t even give it a try
    And I know the roads to riches (he he)
    And I know no amount of shame
    I know all the rules and then I know how to break ’em
    And I always know the name of the game
    But I don’t know how to serve you
    And I’ll never let you call
    And you don’t know how I do it:
    Making bucks out of nothing at all
    Out of completely fokol!

  • Michael Grosse says:

    South Africa has been hoping for an improvement in government for the past 15 years. Hope is not a strategy. It is not going to happen unless we have a new government. ANC has run its course. The people must now vote in a competent government & it will still take 15 years to fix.

  • Johan Buys says:

    Bring Trevor back from life outside politics – for president of ANC.

    If that (or somebody like him) splits the party, then so be it. As things stand the ANC seems to be in neutral gear because of the obstruction from within the party against reform. It will be better if we have a coalition of the somewhat sane part of ANC with the moon-shot opposition in government than (1) hobble along with paralyzed ANC + some minor party to cling to 50% or (2) crash over the cliff with ANC + EFF + zuma in government.

  • says:

    The lack of action by our President is mind boggling. It clearly indicates a lack of enthusiasm and/or inability to put matters right. No action post the Zondo commission report , an incompetence to correct the Escom debacle, no clearing out from his cabinet of ministers who have proved themselves useless. All we have noted is talk, talk and little no do !!! Shameful from a man who the country supported a few years back . Sorry Cyril ..time to go !!

  • mndloma78 says:

    I think the President’s interests are no longer at home, but at his home. Lack of taking action surely doesn’t cultivate seed of trust that his leadership can be trusted. In companies, code of conduct is a prime tool to ensure that law is upheld within the organisation and values are reiterated to reinstate culture of democratic governance, but failure to do so is tantamount to correction that order cannot be maintained. Those who are in the wrong, disciplined by the President, will indicate to the nation that he has the will and capabilities to lead this country, but failure to do so, only shows that our current President was never a leader but a mere manager who took orders from real leaders.

  • Andrew R says:

    I don’t watch the SONA anymore, its not good for my blood pressure, but what really struck me about the 2024 SONA is that Eskom weren’t forced to the keep the lights on for it. Previous years, they’ve presumably burnt through billions in diesel, but this year, nothing. The level reduce briefly from 4 to 2 for an hour or two, there was even a promise of “no loadshedding over the weekend”, any yet, within minutes of the end of SONA, stage 4 was back, and within hours, stage 6. Cyril has clearly given up, and is showing it.

  • P B M .. says:

    Francoise le Roux, it’s quite obvious that you don’t actually have a clue about how bad the situation is regarding Ramaphosa’s failings as a “President” because you chose to criticize what is actually a good article by SG. He described the situation perfectly. Please get your head out of the sand before you make an even bigger fool of yourself.

  • Leslie van Minnen says:

    Our president has become useless and spineless. I will fight corruption in all its forms so sayeth the spineless one. Of course he will, so long as its not his ANC lackies and erstwhile commie buddies that needs fighting. Too many ANC in top positions have too much information that can sink the whole ship. Thus no action from Mr. Ramageddon.

  • Norman Sander says:

    I believe Ramaphosa is out of his depth and has in fact never had control of what is going on in govt.
    I doubt the anc has anyone competent enough on board to fix all the problems.
    Perhaps the state of affairs is so poor that any solution is now irretrievable.

  • D Rod says:

    Dear Stephen, you are probably the last person left in South Africa who actually takes anything from this government as a something serious. Also, probably the only one surprised about our MIA president inaction..

  • Jan Vos says:

    Ehrrrrm. Notthing…

  • Francois le Roux says:

    To all who are vomiting so liberally on our president here, if have anything like an open mind and a sense of your democratic responsibility not only to criticize and practise your tomato throwing, but also to listen and reflect, read his latest newsletter and match his leadership qualities as it reflects in it with your current perception of him. And why not subscribing to it and receive it on a weekly basis. It is not much to do as a token of your sense of fairness, giving your object of hate a chance to speak for himself and not just sheep-march along the fashionable vilification of an internationally respected leader that affects your daily existence.

    To read his latest newsletter, Google “from the desk of the president” and open “From the desk of the President | The Presidency”. To subscribe, go to the bottom of the page at the end of the newsletter (enter your email address and click on sign up).

    • Dee Bee says:

      Wel,, I think the responses here are to what Ramaphosa said on national television, in what is his most important speech every year to set the tone for the year – you don’t need to read his online missives to have a view on what he said at SONA: and patently, he lied through his teeth at SONA about virtually every single thing he raised! Having good speechwriters to craft statesmanlike newsletters is a chimera and cannot be allowed to gloss over the fact that he is, at best, living in a parallel universe if he actually believes the rubbish he spoke, or at worst, he’s simply another ANC scumbag dressed in fancy clothing doing the bidding of the corrupt, venal party he ‘leads’.

    • Ken Borland says:

      The problem is we are all sick and tired of hearing the same promises and mundanities since 2017 and very little of it has actually come to fruition. There’s only so much disappointment people can take.

  • Z N says:

    Stephan we know your love for the man, you are truly disappointed. Leave it to us the voters we will appraise this guy and his pack

  • Gerrie Pretorius says:

    No! cr doesn’t APPEAR to be asleep at the wheel. He is asleep and useless (just like the rest of the anc) – finish and klaar!

  • Rasmus Jensen says:

    He knows he is toast after the election… No chance that he could ‘survive’ losing the ANC the majority

  • Andries Gouws says:

    Don’t know whether the things described here will reach the ears/notice of those who still vote ANC, and even if they did, would make much difference. The mass of voters in SA (and even in the USA) doesn’t respond to what rational voters are supposed to respond to, but have a ‘tribal’ loyal to their party. (But: what to make of the defection from the ANC to the EFF and to MK? Or do their voters experience them as purer manifestations of what the tribe ‘really’ is – the way the Herstigte Nasionale Party was supposed to be a return to the National Party before i was corrupted by the verligtes?) Which I suppose largely means, vote on the basis of identity. And then for those who don’t vote for the ANC (whether for rational reasons, or for tribal ones), the majority of readers of DM, undoubtedly, things like those described here just confirm the correctness of their own political preferences. Undoubtedly there is a small group who are induced by news like this to finally abandon the ANC. I wonder who they are (what the ethnic and professional makeup of this group is, etc.) and via what routes their disenchantment contributes, slowly, with fits and starts, to bringing a post-ANC future closer. If at all – but I suppose it does. All of this is linked to the question how, why and to what extent good journalism contributes to better politics. And how politicians should turn all the exposés we thank to outlets like DM into anti-ANC (and hopefully anti-EFF and anti-MK) votes.

  • Karan Thakor says:

    If only the ANC were as determined to bring corruption to an end like how they took Israel to the ICJ. Every single day we are reminded by amazing investigative journalism just how far off we are as a country to where we could have been had our country been run properly.

  • Elmarie Dennis says:

    Driverless bus. I am amazed at how a political party sabotage its own country. I will keep on praying for our beautiful country

  • Rob Wilson says:

    I think they are scared of the domino effect. When thieves fall out….

  • Michael Cosser says:

    I have to smile at the impassioned plea for South Africans to vote the ANC out of power. What percentage of the electorate – bearing in mind that ANC support is predominantly in rural provinces and areas – will read that comment?

  • ian_mich22 says:

    There’s that inane word again 🙄🥴

  • Dietmar Horn says:

    A vision: If you look at him not as the president of a multi-party democracy with executive power but as the general secretary of a communist unity party, his action or inaction becomes completely understandable. As such, he only had to execute the decisions of the Party Central Committee. I think of Brezhnev and the last years of the Soviet Union. It took a Gorbachev who would shake up the party and the system with glasnost and perestroika and bring the long-awaited liberation to the occupied peoples of Eastern Europe and some Soviet republics. Unfortunately, the majority of the Russian people were not ready to take advantage of this opportunity at that time. The conditions in the Soviet Union back then and South Africa today are not exactly comparable, but I still see clear parallels. Quo vadis South Africa? Will you recognize when history offers you a (possibly last) chance?

  • JP H says:

    Cyril in Wonderland.

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