On the campaign trail over the weekend, ANC presidential contender Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma banged the drum of “radical economic transformation” and insisted, in future, “it cannot be business as usual”.
While it is true that South Africa cannot continue along its current path – of widening inequality, poverty and soaring unemployment – without some changes, Dlamini-Zuma ignores the elephant in the room.
That is her ex-husband and patron, President Jacob Zuma. Business as usual for him and his cronies would, apparently, be to continue the state capture project, which would further drain the economy of resources which could redress society’s inequities and iniquities.
Her opponent in the presidential race, current deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, has a dramatically different view of why it won’t be business as usual if he takes over. That will be because he will launch a massive house cleaning exercise to erase the damage brought to the country in the Zuma years.
According to those in the Ramaphosa camp who spoke to us, it will take at least 10 years – or two five-year terms for Ramaphosa as president – to undo the damage.
Ramaphosa has identified the disastrous state-owned enterprises – a primary trough where many snouts are deeply immersed – as being in need of drastic transformation.
He also wants to set the economy on a strength and growth path.
At the same time, Ramaphosa’s camp believes the ANC’s entire recruitment and election processes need to be overhauled to devolve real power to the grassroots members.
Yet, there is also a realisation that along with the take, there will have to be some give and that reconciliation and peacemaking will be essential if the ANC is to survive as a viable political entity.
It is heartening, though, that Ramaphosa’s people have concrete ideas which go beyond mere political posturing and sloganeering.