Defend Truth


Cyril Ramaphosa’s clean-up campaign is well under way, and he deserves your vote


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.

The naysayers in opposition circles say that voting for President Cyril Ramaphosa in the upcoming elections is just entrenching a corrupt ANC in power. But that ignores the huge advances the president has already made in dismantling the networks of State Capture set in place by his predecessor, Jacob Zuma.

The scaremongering from opposition parties that President Cyril will be removed after this general election is both understandable and clever. So too the sentiment that people will vote for Cyril and not necessarily for the party, the ANC. We all know that there remain divisions within the ruling party, the ANC, this has never been a secret. So, for the opposition parties such as the EFF, Cope and the DA to say that a vote for the ANC will be a vote for Ace Magashule is a necessary political point-scoring exercise. After all, they want you to vote for them instead and not for the ANC.

The problem with scaremongering of this sort though is, it’s opportunistic and it often lacks a deeper understanding of the current reality. Just like in the famous movie All The President’s Men local activists, whistle-blowers and informers have come forward to expose large-scale corruption on the part of many in the government, the ANC and indeed, the private sector. They told us to follow the money and we did. The end result for the ANC is that there are bad apples among them and they need to rid the organisation of these bad apples, sooner rather than later.

As such the ANC has made bold that it intends to clean up both, the ANC and the government, through, for example, the various commissions of inquiries. It is common cause that the ANC went into its elective conference in December 2017 with two very distinct factions and that it came out of that conference with two very distinct ANCs, one led by the Secretary-General, Ace Magashule and the other by ANC President, Cyril Ramaphosa. We all know that the battle for the soul and control of the ANC and by extension the government continues unabated. This is no secret.

What Cyril and his team are urging from us, is to provide President Ramaphosa with a huge mandate in order to remain in control and hence to continue with the clean-up campaign already well underway.

In other words, voting for Cyril Ramaphosa (CR) is both critical and necessary, here’s why:

A weak vote for CR could jeopardise his ability to steadfastly continue with his cleaning up campaign because he would effectively become a consultative President, hamstrung with the percentage he has been dealt with in parliament. This is why the undesirables had to manipulate the list process so that they can ensure that even if the ANC performs badly, they would still be guaranteed their parliamentary seats. They had to secure the safe seats on the list.

If, however, on the other hand, CR gets a huge mandate from the electorate, he would effectively direct his own programme of action and the clean-up will continue unhindered, ultimately taking care of the undesirables. How this would play out in the end I imagine would be through arrests, prosecution and imprisonment, or perhaps through an amnesty process to recoup our lost billions of rands. A process of, confess your wrongdoing and return the billions in return for amnesty or a suspended sentence or maybe the paying of a fine.

I’m just spitballing here, folks.

As for the second matter of voting for CR the individual and not the ANC collective, well this is a matter of interpretation. Since CR became the president of the country, he has moved swiftly in ensuring that he has a good team around him that would assist in the implementation of the long-overdue clean-up of the ANC, the government, and dare I say our society at large. Corruption has become endemic throughout our society and has been so since way before the 1990 democratic breakthrough.

Since February 2018 when he got sworn in as the fifth democratic President of South Africa, he has reshuffled the cabinet and got rid of some of, though not all, the undesirables. No less than 10 ministers were told to pack their bags and vacate their respective offices. We all know who these were. On the very last day of that fifth parliament, CR ensured that the proclamation of the Special Units under the National Prosecuting Authority was signed and sealed, paving the way for the NPA to fulfil its mandate unhindered and without fear or favour.

CR then made sure that key positions within the security cluster were filled with ethical, honest and capable persons. Here I’m reminded of the appointment of Shamila Batohi instead of Shaun Abrahams. In recent testimony at the Zondo Commission, it was revealed that of the numerous cases (hundreds) brought before the NPA under Abrahams, very few prosecutions actually took place under his watch. Cases referred by the SAPS, nothing was done, cases from IPID, nothing was done, cases from the Financial Intelligence Centre, nothing was done, cases from Crime Intelligence division, nothing was done.

A travesty.

The new head, however, has already moved with speed in addressing some of the shortcomings of the Authority and with the additional capacity now available through legislation, she is ready to enforce the law without fear or favour.

Better watch out undesirables.

Next was the appointment of Peter Jacobs at SAPS Crime Intelligence instead of the infamous Richard Mdluli. The less said about Mdluli the better. Abuse of the Crime Intelligence slush fund, doing Zuma’s bidding on all fronts and generally abusing his position in pursuing a political agenda for the then-President Zuma.

Recently we were also informed of the appointment of Willie Hofmeyr as head of the Assets Forfeiture Unit instead of the likes of Jiba and Mrwebi. We were told by Hofmeyr at the Mokgoro Commission that “a very concerning development trend that emerged under Jiba, and almost institutionalised by Abrahams, was to prosecute those who were perceived as obstacles to corruption and the capture of the State”. I’m convinced that under Willie, the AFU will execute its power to seize assets that are the proceeds of crime or that have been used to commit crime. Its main focus is organised crime, drug-related crime, serious crime and serious economic crime and corruption.

CR continued with his team composition and appointed a new SARS head, Edward Kieswetter, instead of Tom Moyane. The latter as we all know tried desperately to cling to his job, but in the end, the courts found him not fit to hold his office. It was Moyane who fabricated allegations of a rogue unit at SARS and fired competent people left, right and centre. He was an important link in the State Capture debacle because more often than not, culprits have to get their ill-gotten money out of the country, and of course avoid paying taxes, which is exactly what happened under Moyane’s watch if reports and testimonies are to be believed from the Zondo Commission of how the Gupta family got away with our billions.

Let alone the British American Tobacco people and organised criminals that were also left alone for far too long by our tax revenue collection authorities under Tom. Kieswetter has already targeted people such as alleged underworld crime boss, Mark Lifman. Watch this space.

Should I continue? CR has accomplished in one year what others believed was not possible just a mere 15 months ago.

And then just when you think it ends there, we are informed that Robert McBride has been appointed as the new head of the ethics and anti-corruption unit in the entire public service. His invaluable testimony underway at the Zondo commission speaks volumes as to his commitment to root out corrupt practices regardless of who is involved, without fear or favour. May his commitment long still continue.

Last but certainly not least, is the restructuring of the State-Owned Enterprises boards, SOEs. With one fell swoop, he changed the governance structures of these and ensured that a new and fresh take on challenges will be the result. And just for good measure, CR set out to woo potential international investors and to attract them to our shores. At last count, he had attracted an amount to the tune of hundreds of billions of rands into the SA economy.

I mention all these to simply illustrate that you will not be voting for an individual called Cyril Ramaphosa. No, you will be voting for Ramaphosa and his incredible team that surrounds him. A team committed to rid our society of the bad apples and to put Mzansi back on the path to recovery, where our dignity as a nation will once again do us proud.

So, though you have all the right to incite scaremongering tactics, just remember that voting for Cyril Ramaphosa (CR) is both critical and necessary.

I, for one, being the eternal optimist, must say that observing the vibrancy of our democracy at play these last few months does make me content with the knowledge that this is what many of us have fought and died for. So, I leave you with this, in case you are in any doubt as to the next steps:

If you think you are too small to make a difference then you haven’t spent a night with a mosquito” – African proverb.

Be a mosquito, cast your vote for Cyril Ramaphosa come 8 May. DM


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