History has it on record that Jimmy Kruger, then apartheid South African Minister of Police, in reacting to the gruesome death of Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko made a comment that would go down as both shocking and inhumane: “I am not glad and I am not sorry about Mr Biko. It leaves me cold.”
I cannot help but invoke Kruger’s disgusting comment after having watched President Cyril Ramaphosa’s testimony at the State Capture Commission last week. With no ounce of shame I feel compelled to say, “Mr President, I am not moved by your testimony, in fact it leaves me cold, to say the least.” I expected leadership and some owning up to the destruction in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng and that the once-glorious movement you now lead would take responsibility for the mess.
Instead what we got was a public relations exercise of trying to position yourself, avoid mea culpa by any means necessary and spin the whole debacle of State Capture to frame yourself as the knight in shining armour
In the process you even managed to use the platform to justify some of your current Cabinet’s shortcomings, and worse the recent failure to foresee and curb the unrest in the country as it unfolded.
Truly, anyone who listened to your testimony or read reports around it and believed that you only found out about the extent of so-called State Capture through the commission must be an idiot. I mean, you are the first to talk about “nine wasted years”. How did we arrive at the narrative of “wasted years” if one does not know if there was waste (or not) in the said period?
If one were to say that the time spent with an employer was a “waste”, then it means that one was aware of all that led to one’s time going to waste. By using this analogy, I believe you should have then had the resolve to leave. However, you chose to stay, Mr President, and kept quiet.
Worse, you were the leader of government business during all those years. You led the ANC bloc as it defended the former president at every motion of no confidence, yet now you claim you were afraid of being fired — really, Mr President, really? Wouldn’t being fired have meant that you were disposed of because of your ethical standards rather than toeing the perceived corrupt line? You were part of the problem and not the hero you tried to portray yourself as during your appearance at the Zondo Commission.
I expected more from you, but all I saw and heard was you trying to portray yourself as a saint. You could have done better by admitting that your whole movement has failed South Africans.
As those who play in the realm of politics often say, “history has no blank pages”. This rings true to your PR playbook at the commission last week. As a member of the ANC, and at one point its secretary-general, you have been privy to the behind-the-scenes happenings in the movement, and you could have taken South Africa into your confidence by articulating how the movement had been captured long before Jacob Zuma.
This would have opened the lid on the number of millionaires who have emerged from the movement you are leading, but no, the playbook was to throw Zuma and his allies under the bus. I guess it’s much better to sacrifice one comrade rather than the whole ANC.
I also do not understand how your recent Cabinet reshuffle came to be part of the proceedings. Methinks that there was a confidential brief to the evidence leaders to give you an opportunity to justify the reshuffle and get coverage to explain some of the actions that have been criticised on various platforms.
The same for Justice Raymond Zondo’s showering of praises on your appearance at the commission. For crying out loud, Nelson Mandela was hauled to court by Louis Luyt and former president Thabo Mbeki appeared at the Seriti Commission on the Arms Deal. You were leader of government business at the time the so-called State Capture took place and you now lead the movement whose name gets mentioned most often at the same commission — there should be no praises for your appearance. In fact, you should have been summonsed long ago as a person of interest.
I could go on and write until I run out of words to describe the sad affair that was the president’s “testimony”, but like Jimmy Kruger, I am not glad about that lacklustre performance. I can only blurt “dit laat my koud” (it leaves me cold).
Mr President, you can do better than that PR stunt. DM