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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

‘Political life won’t be better under Ramaphosa now that he survived’ – Habib

Ramaphosa beat former Health Minister Zweli Mkhize at the ANC conference to lead the governing party for a second five-year term

South Africa is in a “dangerous moment” and “political life won’t be better under President Cyril Ramaphosa now that he has survived,” Former Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the Witwatersrand Adam Habib has warned.

Habib made the comments on social media following the election of the African National Congress’ (ANC) top seven at Nasrec during the party’s 55th elective conference on Monday.

Ramaphosa emerged the winner, beating former Health Minister Zweli Mkhize to lead the governing party for a second five-year term.

ANC conference a gauge

The ANC conference is a powerful indicator of where the nation is, Habib said.

“Its signature feature is that a compromised former Minister of Health had significant support even though he enabled corruption in the middle of a global pandemic.”

“There cannot be a more profound betrayal by a doctor than that of Zweli Mkhize. The fact that he commanded so much support in the ANC demonstrates how far its moral underpinnings have eroded. The KZN ANC’s backing of him suggests that it is now truly corrupt to the core.” Habib said.

ALSO READ: Ramaphosa’s re-election will enable ‘an atmosphere of economic stability’

Ramaphosa must answer

Ramaphosa also has much to answer for, Habib added.

“His (Ramaphosa) political timidity has further imperilled SA. His Phala Phala scandal reflects an unparalleled idiocy. If you want to pretend to be a farmer, do so at your own cost, not that of a nation. You wanted this presidency, now lead it with prudence!”

“Is political life likely to be different under Ramaphosa now that he has survived? Probably not! Not only is he severely weakened, and the ANC factionalised, but he also does not have the political character or courage to boldly lead and manage contemporary SA. This will not change,” he said.

DA better, but not EFF

The Democratic Alliance (DA) would do a better job of running South Africa, but warned of the consequences if the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) were to come to power, Habib said.

“I am convinced that the DA will administer SA better, even if they will not always politically manage it in a progressive manner. But they will not come close to power given their political and electoral immaturity.”

“The EFF – given its fascist overtones – is an option too horrendous to contemplate. If SA under Mkhize would have been akin to Karachi or Lagos, we would under the EFF be akin to the DRC under Mobutu Sese Seko. None of the other party options are politically viable.

“Neither is coalition politics viable. If coalition govts are unstable in prosperous & less unequal societies, imagine how much more so they would be here.The only viable coalition pathway is one that principally & permanently excludes the EFF which many politicians will not do,” he added.”

Energy crisis

As the country battles an energy crisis with chronic load shedding, Habib said the governance crisis also extends to policy, “especially when it comes to energy.”

“I have always opposed privatisation of energy resources given its propensity to drive inequality. But this opposition was premised on a capable administration delivering on energy provision.”

“Yet we are not in this situation. The ANC under Zuma, and frankly even before and after him, has destroyed the administrative capacities of the SOEs and the state through cadre deployment and non-meritocratic transformation.This has compromised the delivery of basic services,” he said.

South Africa’s future

South Africa is in a “dangerous moment,” after the ANC conference and the re-election of Ramaphosa, Habib said.

“Our choices are horrendous and we presently have the most avarice pol. leaders across all generations. Bolsanaros’s Brazil or Modi’s India are not unrealistic scenarios for SA. We are in desperate need for a positive disruption of our political system.”

“A positive political disruption is only possible if business and  civil society break from the existing political structure including its ruling and opposition parties to create an alternative pluralistic set of political options. Until then we will continue our slow disintegration,” he added.

Ramaphosa is expected to deliver the closing address of the ANC’s 55th elective conference on Tuesday.

ALSO READ: ‘ANC needs plan to get them talking’ – Mbalula wants to solve issues between Zuma and Ramaphosa

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