Do you regret voting for Ramaphosa?

Do you regret voting for Ramaphosa?

South Africans celebrate President Cyril Ramaphosa's inauguration at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria on Saturday, 25 May 2019.

There was no such thing as a vote for Cyril. If you voted ANC, you helped prolong SA’s economic and political woes. Thanks for that.

Here’s a question for those who “voted for Cyril” on May 8, believing this would strengthen President Ramaphosa against the bad guys in the ANC.

How is that working out? Are the bad guys vanquished? Is an emboldened Ramaphosa steering the country in a new direction?

On the contrary, if anyone has become more brazen it is ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, leader of the pro-Jacob Zuma faction.

When he read out a statement last week about extending the mandate of the Reserve Bank, Magashule was again deliberately challenging Ramaphosa’s authority. And the markets noticed with disapproval.

Subsequent clarifications have not settled questions about policy. Every variation by one side is countered by the other. Far from being strengthened by the election outcome, Ramaphosa looks weaker by the day. The barbarians are at the gate, says Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago.

As Barney Mthombothi wrote in the Sunday Times: “Magashule has gone rogue and is pushing Ramaphosa into a corner. Ramaphosa will have to act against him or lose all credibility.”

Yet, Ramaphosa does not have the political clout to deal with Magashule, the central character in Gangster State. Although the constitution says the executive authority of the republic is vested in the president, Magashule sings a different tune.

His hymn sheet includes a resolution from the ANC’s 2017 national conference, which committed the party to expropriation without compensation. And resolution 29, which said the Bank should be “100% owned by the state”.

Because the national conference is the party’s highest decision-making body, resolutions are binding on all ANC public representatives, including MPs and Cabinet ministers.

There is no separate Ramaphosa ANC, which has the freedom to amend these resolutions. That’s why Justice Malala calls them booby traps, laid by the “Zuma-Magashule Radical Economic Transformation” grouping.

It would be naive to imagine that the plan to depose Ramaphosa has been abandoned. Magashule is keeping alive the radical resolutions of December 2017.

The Ramaphosa faction has already lost the ideological battle over expropriation without compensation, having been snookered by the Zuma group and the EFF. Although the constitution has not yet been changed, Ramaphosa has opened the way for this to happen.

Ramaphosa has not ruled out nationalisation of the Reserve Bank. Rather, it is seen as “simply not prudent” in the “current economic and fiscal situation”.

At some point, his foes in the ANC could have him recalled for failure to implement conference resolutions. Barbarians rattling that gate.

In addition, there are flaws in the argument that Ramaphosa is a good guy. To repeat the obvious, he was deputy president of the party and the country for long enough to see what was happening in the Zupta years. His ineffective silence was inexcusable, especially as he was chair of the ANC deployment committee and head of a team that was supposed to fix Eskom.

Nor has he explained, with plausible consistency, the financial arrangements between his family and Bosasa.

There was no such thing as a vote for Cyril. If you voted ANC, you helped prolong SA’s economic and political woes. Thanks for that.

Martin Williams, DA councillor and former editor of The Citizen.

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