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By Sydney Majoko

Writer


Ramaphosa’s ghosts out to haunt him

The president is presiding upon a government he has specifically branded as anti-corruption.


One Thursday in August 2014 then-president Jacob Zuma was asked by Julius Malema about a recommendation that the public protector at the time had made regarding the R246 million that was spent on his Nkandla homestead.

The Economic Freedom Fighter’s (EFF) leader asked: “When will you pay back the money?”

That question morphed into the chant “pay back the money” and then into the hashtag #ZumaMustGo.

This past Thursday, the EFF disrupted President Cyril Ramaphosa’s budget speech, vowing they will not be addressed by a criminal.

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The EFF made it its singular goal to get Zuma out of office and even though the ruling party used the tyranny of numbers to have him survive 10 motions of no confidence, the EFF got what it wanted. Ramaphosa might live to regret “Farmgate” as much as his predecessor regretted Nkandlagate.

The EFF has always been accused of being obsessed with the internal battles of the ruling party.

This is because of the proximity of its leadership to that of the ruling party and the EFF is able to leverage whatever scandalous information disgruntled ruling party members send its way.

And in this way, without the numbers that the official opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA), command, it can manage to project itself as more relevant.

And staying relevant between elections is its biggest achievement.

But most worryingly for Ramaphosa beyond the EFF staying relevant is that it has never needed motivation to want to be rid of Ramaphosa, it has always been there.

When the ANC expelled Malema from the ANC in 2012, Ramaphosa was the chair of the disciplinary committee that heard the case against him.

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It was the same disciplinary committee that Floyd Shivambu, Malema’s current deputy had to face at the time.

And the advocate who represented them, Dali Mpofu, who also became the chair of the EFF after its formation.

What better way to exact revenge on the man responsible for his expulsion from the ruling party than to remove him from the highest office in the land?

The president is presiding upon a government he has specifically branded as anti-corruption. That is the ticket he ran on and that is what he has promised to the country, repeatedly.

Part of his administration’s mandate is to prosecute those who have been fingered in corruption and some in the EFF leadership are implicated by proximity to alleged culprits in the VBS debacle.

That matter has not seen all the alleged role players brought before the courts and the removal of the president from office might see these cases never reaching finality.

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Ramaphosa’s biggest battle in the next few months – and maybe years – will not be against electricity blackouts or a failing economy, but against ghosts from his past.

Like Zuma, he will need to lean on the tyranny of numbers to survive parliament.

Unfortunately he does not have a formidable secretary-general like Gwede Mantashe to whip the parliamentary caucus into shape.

As Mantashe used to say: “We cannot abandon our top general to enemy troops.”

The current ANC might not have the same resolve about their top man.