News / Opinion / Columns

Sydney Majoko
3 minute read
24 Apr 2018
9:05 am

Fake ANC unity is hobbling Ramaphosa

Sydney Majoko

For the president to act decisively against corrupt leaders he would have to go to the heart of his own party and threaten the fake unity that put him in charge.

When President Cyril Ramaphosa cut short his UK trip to attend to the burning crisis in the North West province, many had guarded hope that a lasting solution would come from his intervention.

After all, the president has been on some sort of a mission of injecting hope back into the hopeless nation. It turned out our hopes were false. The one remaining member of the so-called premier league has refused to budge. In fact, as one social media commentator put it, what came out of Ramaphosa’s intervention was “a promise to hold talks about talks”.

What is going wrong for Ramaphosa? Why can he not use the leverage of the riots against Supra Mahumapelo to effect change? There is overwhelming evidence that, of all the premiers, the North West leader was the one deepest in the pockets of the Guptas. So, why can’t the president do the right thing?

The answer is simple: the fake unity within the ruling party is hampering his crusade against corruption.

Ramaphosa has to play a delicate balancing act between upsetting the “unity” ticket that secured him his post at Nasrec in December and acting against mediocrity in service delivery and large-scale corruption.

The case against Mahumapelo is as clear as daylight. The Mediosa health scandal that Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi characterised as an “ATM for the Guptas” is in itself sufficient for action to be taken against the premier.

Never mind the unrelenting allegations of his rule with an iron fist in the ANC that elevated him to kingmaker alongside David Mabuza and Ace Magashule, there is a mountain of evidence of his possible involvement in acts of corruption. That goes against the heart of Ramaphosa’s vision for the country and the ruling party. But it appears that “unity” is winning the day.

The smart businessperson that Ramaphosa is knows that only a vibrant and growing economy will spark the promise that was part of the South African story. So he set up two major initiatives to revive the economy: the YES project to tackle youth unemployment and his latest, business ambassadors to hunt for investors.

And all and sundry can see that he means business. But his Achilles heel remains the unity ticket that got him where he is. That deal is preventing him from acting against one of the biggest enemies of investment – corruption.

For the president to act decisively against corrupt leaders he would have to go to the heart of his own political party and threaten the fake unity that elevated him to his position.

This fractious unity that the president is choosing to dance so delicately around means that long-suffering masses of people who have been deprived of basic service delivery such as those in North West will continue to suffer – and when they suffer they will seek to effect their own solutions to the problems facing them. And that means destruction on the level seen in Mahikeng this past week.

The president will have to make a choice between keeping a facade of unity to protect those who gave him their votes at Nasrec, or keep running around putting out fires that are a result of lack of delivery by his party.

Sydney Majoko

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