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Cyril Ramaphosa’s first 100 days in office – our very own Nanny McPhee


Oscar van Heerden is a scholar of International Relations (IR), where he focuses on International Political Economy, with an emphasis on Africa, and SADC in particular. He completed his PhD and Masters studies at the University of Cambridge (UK). His undergraduate studies were at Turfloop and Wits. He is currently a Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Fort Hare University and writes in his personal capacity.

This Saturday, Cyril Ramaphosa, our President will have spent his first 100 days in office. A cursory look at what he has managed to accomplish would be in order, I think?

It is of course rather important that if we are to look at the past 100 days then a brief look at where we come from is equally in order, less we forget. After all, the Zuma administration these last 9 years can only really be described as catastrophic. State capture, naked corruption and the breaking of the rules, laws and dare I say the Constitution. Fortunately, we all collectively put an end to that saga.

Firstly, the general populace through marches to Parliament and the Union building, various protest action throughout the country and finally the ANC membership through a vote at their National Conference held in Nasrec in Johannesburg in December last year.

No small feat I might add, considering the very tight margin the President eventually won with, but as they say, a win is a win. And so Zuma and his cronies’ days were up and numbered.

On those fateful days there had been a storm brewing and it was on the last day our very own Nanny McPhee was elected into power, warts and all. A ‘government nanny’, who has the responsibility to bring discipline back into the country and his gonna need a bit of magic too.

Some did not want him as President and such sentiments were shared even outside of the ANC conference but Nanny McPhee had to remind everyone,

When you need me, but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me, but no longer need me, then I must go.”

And so from the beginning the President had to firstly ensure that the menace, Jacob Zuma, vacate his office ASAP. It took some doing but eventually the tough cookie crumbled and we saw the back of Jacob Zuma. He reluctantly resigned from high office. Next had to be some of his cronies, now I know some of you would have wanted to see wholesale clean up but unfortunately, we do still find ourselves in a political game and in it, you have to weigh up all manner of considerations before waving that magic wand, less you disadvantage yourself and your party towards the upcoming general elections.

After all, those that are screaming the loudest for wholesale change are not your traditional voters. Hence a bit of more circumspection is required by the President.

Be that as it may, we saw the backs of no less than ten cabinet Ministers, good riddance indeed. Next the President looked at the security cluster in general since this cluster was abused by the former president to execute his personal decisions. Richard Mdluli and Arthur Fraser were the obvious starting points, and then he moved to encircle Tom Moyane at our Revenue Services. The NPA was instructed to move against Ace Magashule with regards the Dairy Farm saga, together with the Guptas. In the same vein the NPA swooped onto the Gupta’s compound with the express aim to gather the necessary evidence to be able to prosecute them and the former President’s son, Duduzane Zuma.

Even though one of the so called Premier League members are now in the Cyril camp (a necessary compromise at Nasrec), the others are facing serious upheaval from various quarters and authorities. Supra simply cannot outsmart our Nanny, who at every turn stomps his walking stick to the ground. His days are numbered and anyone that cannot see that including himself is simply blind to the obvious.

The battle to correct the malpractices at our State-owned enterprises started with the Eskom board being removed and a new board being appointed. Let us hope a new ethical governance practice will creep back in at Eskom and the other SoEs.

To get the economy off the ground, a key priority for Ramaphosa, he has not only ensured that we get a competent Minister into the portfolio but also allayed fears of the investors and the local market. He staved off another potential downgrade and solicited the skills and acumen of a team of senior officials to go hunting for foreign direct investment. I have no doubt this will deliver some much needed impetus for our economy.

Unlike Zuma who almost exclusively only connected with the peoples of KZN, this President is walking his way into the hearts and minds of the peoples of Mzansi.

A new dawn has arrived and there is renewed hope, for Nanny McPhee is beginning to change the attitudes of all the children in this house called South Africa. With discipline and breath of hope, he transforms the family’s lives. In the process, he changes from ugly (being associated with the Zuma administration), to beautiful, his warts and unibrow disappearing and his oversized nose shrinking. Let us hope that the family will change to responsible people helping in solving their problems, making Nanny McPhee less and less needed.

For remember again, Nanny McPhee’s adage is simple:

When you need me, but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me, but no longer need me, then I must go”

Undoing the damage caused by the Zuma administration is going to take a long time but all of the above points to a President who is willing to get his hands dirty and this is a good sign. All this talk from certain quarters that we might potentially look at coalition politics and arrangements come 2019 or that a government of national unity might again be in the offing. To these sentiments I dare say I disagree profoundly.

If Cyril continues on this trajectory of the last 100 days (and he most certainly will) the ANC will see an increase in their overall majority come 2019, contrary to popular belief and the metros will also be returned to the ANC by the voters come 2021, if the various coalitions don’t implode before then.

So with a little bit of discipline and a healthy dose of magic, Nanny McPhee has managed to put us back on track to be great once again. The valuable lesson we as the children have learned 24 years into our young democracy, is that we too must remain vigilant and become truly active citizens in safeguarding not only our Constitution but also our values and our much fought for democracy.

And so as far as I’m concerned, the first 100 days of my President has been excellent and a distinction in this assessment is well worth it.

Thank you Nanny McPhee. DM


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