Defend Truth


The horror of horrors: What if Ramaphosa is the new Zuma?


Koos Kombuis is a South African musician, singer, songwriter and writer who sometimes goes by the name of Joe Kitchen, André Letoit and/or André le Roux du Toit.

The narrative these days, especially among us disillusioned liberals, is that Cyril Ramaphosa is this good guy deep down, perhaps the only good guy that’s left, but he’s sort of got weak in the knees… What if we’re wrong about him?

The other morning, as I was taking my daughter back to UCT campus after a weekend at home, she pushed a CD into the CD player of my car. 

We were driving past the Liesbeek River and I was horrified at the amount of rubbish lying around. My God, this is Cape Town! I thought. Why does it look like Bloemfontein? 

Travelling around South Africa has become increasingly depressing of late.  

And that’s the thing. In my job, I can’t avoid travelling. I am a performing artist and I go to different places to earn my living. It’s a bread-and-butter thing.

I suppose, in this day and age, I should be thankful to have a job that still pays. Everybody is depressed these days, and many people are still willing to fork out a few rands to go to see a show by a man with a bottle of red wine and a guitar who sings funny songs that are supposed to cheer you up. 

Problem is, these days, more and more I feel like I am the one who needs cheering up. 

It’s hard to admit to myself how upbeat I felt about the future of our country just a few years ago. When was it that Cyril became president? 2018?  

What a relief it was, to see the last of that Zuma fellow. 

Back then, I couldn’t picture any politician being worse than Jacob Zuma. 

That was before we encountered the likes of Gwede Mantashe.

And that was also before we realised that Cyril Ramaphosa is nothing but a damp squib. 

May I throw a knuppel in the hoenderhok

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The narrative these days, especially among us disillusioned liberals, is that Cyril Ramaphosa is this good guy deep down, perhaps the only good guy that’s left, but he’s sort of got weak in the knees and is unable to push through all those reforms he promised us when he ascended to power after ousting Zuma. 

“What’s wrong with this picture?” I asked myself. “Surely there must be a REASON why Ramaphosa is behaving like a pap snoek. Have they got dirt on him? Is he just tired? Why can’t he make the decisions he really wants to make?” 

At that moment, as I was pondering that ephemeral question, the next song on the CD my daughter had pushed into the CD player started thumping through the car. 

“This is my favourite,” she said, and turned up the volume. 

It was a well-known old rock song by The Who. I had heard it a hundred times before. 

Suddenly, though, I perked up my ears. All of a sudden, the song made much more sense than before. 

It had a direct bearing on the thoughts that had been rambling around inside my head.

Meet the new boss,” they sang. “Same as the old boss…”

Of course, you know by now what song we were listening to. It was, “Won’t Get Fooled Again”.

“My God, nothing has changed,” I thought. “What if Cyril actually isn’t a good man who’s lost his courage to lead?”

“What if…” I winced as the full horror of my next thought hit me in the solar plexus.

“What if he’s JUST LIKE ZUMA? 

“Perhaps a more clever version of Zuma … certainly more suave and well-spoken, but equally corrupt?” 


If that were true, I told myself, We Are F*cked. 

Well and Truly F*cked. 

We are More F*cked than we Ever had been…

Perhaps we should all hope this isn’t true. 

Perhaps you should forget you ever read this column. 

Perhaps it was irresponsible of me to bring everyone down like this. 

Perhaps … perhaps … perhaps… 

If I can manage to write one more paragraph, this column will end up having exactly 666 words in it. The Devil’s number. The true nature. The real thing. 

Let’s not go there. It sounds too much like a conspiracy th… (666 reached… now). DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Peter Slingsby says:

    Why can’t the media start calling these people what they really are: traitors. Traitors to the new South Africa, traitors to the constitution, traitors to every man, woman and child who was born or lives here, traitors to South Africa, Every one who steals from government steals from us all, steals from the country. Traitors. Time to expel these traitors from government, once and for all. Ramaphosa is indeed not different from Zuma in his effects – there is, as the DM has pointed out, been more corruption since 2018 than before. Traitors.

  • R S says:

    It doesn’t matter what you think of CR. The ANC makes decisions as a collective, so one man makes little to no difference. This is why I wasn’t dumb enough to vote for them in 2019, no matter how much “Ramaphoria” people were gorging on.

  • For many many years Ramaphosa served as a none executive director in the private sector. Non execs are independent of management. They oversee and challenge management. They do not operate the company or make decisions. As President, Ramaphosa now must make decisions and implement policy. – instead he dithers and tinkers around the edges.

  • Petrus Kleinhans says:

    Andre, I remember us sitting in the Bakoven some mornings comparing poems over coffee. Or you visiting and lying on the floor of my apartment tapping your last Chesterfield against the cigarette box, before lighting it up. I remember those times when we could still dream about a new day coming. What have these guys left us and our children now? What they left us is the dream of a great South Africa gone up in smoke like so many Chesterfields. And a bitter taste in the mouth that won’t go away even after you Colgate ferociously. Ek sien ‘n dissipel wapper in die takeltoue van die tabernakel tent. He’s hanging on for dear life. But barely.

  • Pet Bug says:

    I fear you’re right.
    But SAns might be fooled for some of the time, – but not all the time.
    CR will be kneecapped at some point. 2024.
    Because he never tried. And lied. And weak. And wrong side of history.
    And Faust.
    And then some.

  • Rob Fisher says:

    He has been at the center of the ANC power since he stood on the balcony of Cape Town city hall in 1990. He has never lifted his voice to question, never mind stop, any of the ANC corruption.

  • Brian Cotter says:

    Townshend felt revolution was pointless because whoever takes over is destined to become corrupt. In Townshend: A Career Biography, Pete explained that the song was antiestablishment, but that “revolution is not going to change anything in the long run, and people are going to get hurt.”

  • Brian Cotter says:

    Lyrics from last two verses:
    There’s nothing in the street
    Looks any different to me
    And the slogans are effaced, by-the-bye
    And the parting on the left
    Is now parting on the right
    And the beards have all grown longer overnight
    I’ll tip my hat to the new Constitution
    Take a bow for the new revolution
    Smile and grin at the change all around
    Pick up my guitar and play
    Just like yesterday
    Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
    We don’t get fooled again
    Don’t get fooled again, no, no
    Meet the new boss
    Same as the old boss

  • Roelf Pretorius says:

    Joe, you artists play a very important part in exposing sentiments, but this time you are making a blunder. None of these, not even Mantashe, comes close to Zuma in how evil they are (except Arthur Fraser). The secret is not to try to understand the person but the understand the political party that they are serving. Ramaphosa and ALL his Ministers are serving the ANC (yes, the ANC, not the public, no matter how much they pretend otherwise). And the ANC is substantially influenced by the RET faction of . . . Zuma. And even when they are trying to do the right thing, they have to be very careful that they are not dealt with like De Ruyter has been dealt with. Now we can reason that they have a job to do and the risks come with the job; but it is no use to do what is right against the sentiment INSIDE THE ANC and then getting eliminated, They all have to try to walk along a tightrope, trying to find ways to manipulate the party to strenghten the good sentiments. So the answer is twofold: first of all we have to get rid of the ANC; and second is that the political unasailability of political parties in SA politics need to be taken away so that political parties (all of them, not just the ANC) can become more vulnerable in the sense that they will be forced to listen more to good South Africans, which make up 99% of the population. That’s, by the way, why all these lobby groups are pushing so hard for specifically variable multi-seat constituency representation in our politics.

    • Bruce Q says:

      Well said Roelf.
      Our political structure is what needs radical transformation. The present system protects politicians and prevents accountability.
      More than ever we need a strong and clever opposition. The DA needs a strong leader and has to stop shooting itself in the foot.

  • Ian Callender-Easby says:

    Jislaaik Joe! These are my sentiments down to the T. Only difference is my absolute revulsion for Ramafooledus, who in contrast to to Zuma’s blatant gangsterism, projected himself as our Country’s saviour while aiding, abetting and benefitting from the looting of it’s pitifully depleted resources by the ****** depraved ANC remnants… Time someone called his bluff. Well done.

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