Opinionista John Steenhuisen 16 April 2019

Pollyanna Peter’s Ramaphosa power-play schtick littered with flaws

Arguments such as that of Peter Bruce that Cyril Ramphosa is playing a long game and slowly marshalling his forces to purge the ANC of the worst excesses of the Zuma years ring hollow. Where was Ramaphosa when those excesses brought South Africa into a state of ruin, and the likes of Ace Magashule consolidated their power?

Peter Bruce’s Pollyanna piece in Business Day, For the sake of the country, stand with the ANC’s principled people (11 April 2019) begs a response. The basis of Bruce’s argument is that while there is much wrong with the ANC, he still misguidedly peddles the schtick that  South Africans should go out and vote for the ANC as Ramaphosa has the political capital and desire to put things right in South Africa. 

After months of sycophantic cheer-leading for Ramaphosa, Bruce is however finally forced to concede that Ramaphosa was weak, complicit, dithered and stood by as the country was looted. Despite this, Bruce now doubles down on his argument and says that South Africans must turn a blind eye to this as Ramaphosa was “playing the long game”, playing by the ANC’s rules and biding his time to take charge. He ices his argument with the view that Ramaphosa is the only person who can fix things in South Africa. 

This argument is littered with flaws bigger than a Bosasa bribe. How can South Africans vote for a party and president who, as even Bruce admits, stood idly by observing the worst excesses of the Zuma years? While trillions were wiped out from our economy through State Capture, Nkandla, the Gupta family and Vrede Dairy farm to name a few, Ramaphosa wrung his hands. 

Our State-owned Entities were reduced to ATMs for politically connected elites, printing money in exchange for consultancy fees, lopsided contracts, collusion and bribes.  Yet Ramaphosa looked the other way. Our GDP slid as power blackouts, poor policies and government regulations attacked our fragile economy, yet Ramaphosa looked the other way. Zuma hollowed out and castrated the justice system leaving it ineffective and impotent, yet Ramaphosa looked the other way. Unemployment soared to close to 10-million people as mismanagement, corruption and incompetence slowly took over all three spheres of governance. Again, Ramaphosa looked the other way. 

How can South Africans trust a President who has continually looked the other away, bottled every opportunity to do something and who did nothing but act as the handmaiden of the nine wasted Zuma years that have hamstrung and abused our country, and landed us in a very serious situation? 

Bruce’s other argument that Ramaphosa is now in charge of his party is completely out of tune with reality. It shows how little he knows.

For those who may not yet have woken to the reality, here is the truth Bruce is not telling you: it is the ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule who is running the ANC and not Ramaphosa. Ramaphosa may be in office, but he is certainly not in power. Magashule is in charge of the power faction, which carries the majority of power on the ANC lists. 

This is the same Magashule who took up the role of gangster-in-chief in the Free State province, creating his own corrupt fiefdom which is running this faction and which wields enormous majority power within the ANC. This is also why Ramaphosa has been forced to volte-face on his announcements on the size of the civil service, the Eskom restructuring and the Reserve Bank. 

The ANC’s parliamentary list is also full to the brim with the very rogues and renegades who were the architects and executors of State Capture. Returning to infect the parliamentary benches on 9 May 2019 will be the likes of Bathabile Dlamini, Nomvula Mokonyane, Malusi Gigaba, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, Mosebenzi Zwane to name a few. It should fill the stomach with dread, yet it is this very list of leeches for whom Bruce wants citizens to cast their vote. 

In his rush to beatify Ramaphosa, Bruce is also misleading voters. The vote on the ballot is not for a person, but for a party, that is an indisputable fact of our political system. 

When you vote for the ANC you are not voting for Ramaphosa alone but for the same party and the same people who have implemented State Capture, steered our economy on to the rocks and pushed 10-million of our citizens into the unemployment line. There is no united ANC party that is backing and giving Ramaphosa its complete support. Instead, the party is fractious, with even former president Kgalema Motlanthe stating that the ANC is more divided now than ever before. 

With this division, and if the trend of the last three ANC presidents is followed, it is unlikely that Ramaphosa will see out his full term as president. DM

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