Opposition parties should be “very afraid” come the 2019 national elections, with South Africa’s newly elected President Cyril Ramaphosa taking over the reins as the ruling ANC heads to the polls.
This as the party – while invoking mixed feelings among society with its fresh stance on unity – also shows that it’s rekindled its glory days. “This stance comes from the ordinary people,” political analyst Somadoda Fikeni said.
“Others, however, believe this is an ANC that has been so deeply compromised and has its own internal divisions that among other things, it would have to recognise its limitations going forward.”
And with the opposition seeing moments of resurgence, they now “believe they have to move faster to counter any perception that the ANC is now good”, he added.
“This is especially when there is only 16 months or so to the next elections. They cannot be over complimentary. “Certainly, most of the opposition parties are scrambling to redefine their focus. They had for too long looked at former president Jacob Zuma as the problem.
“Now that he is no longer there, they are scrambling to find a new narrative. You see this with the EFF, who say let’s go for the attack now. Believe it or not, the campaign season has begun.”
Ramaphosa also has a lot to grapple with following what’s been left behind by Zuma’s legacy, Fikeni said.
“I think he has the will to do whatever he can to succeed. He is buoyed by the fact that this is a Nelson Mandela year and he was an anointed person by Nelson Mandela.
“He is very much conscious of all these symbolisms to rise to the occasion. He is well aware of all challenges that have been there.
And one effective thing about him is that he is not a messiah, but he surely works on the social capital networks.
“As you see him reaching out to opposition parties, he is building those coalitions.” “He has that common touch. As a trade unionist and as a person … one other advantage is that he is multilingual.
“That will reach out to multicultural communities. His personal style to relate to individuals has been cultivated over the years when he had to deal with the unions in the mines and the bosses of unions, and the negotiations during Codesa.
“He has dealt with businesses in doing deals and the same with the National Planning Commission. “That, in itself, means that he is able to garner support by reaching out to diverse constituencies. And perhaps, that is what we need now.”