Because President Cyril Ramaphosa is such a stark contrast to his predecessor Jacob Zuma, one must exercise care when assessing what he has done and what he plans to do, and guard against what has been labelled “Ramaphoria”.
But we cannot help but look with approval at the symbolic gesture he has just made: to pledge half of his annual salary to the Thuma Mina (Send Me) Fund in honour of Nelson Mandela.
It is a symbolic gesture because Ramaphosa is a billionaire in his own right and the R1 million or so he will be committing is a small drop in a very big financial ocean for him.
Nevertheless, it is the principle we admire. Ramaphosa’s message emphasises that politicians – and civil servants, for that matter – are there to work for the people of the country, and not to grow fat off the labours of those people.
We saw exactly the opposite in the Zuma years, with the outrageous Nkandla homestead being the worst example.
Now, we call on Ramaphosa to continue to work in that spirit and cut back on the perks for politicians.
A good start would be to chop the ridiculous “blue-light brigades”.