Editorials 20.8.2018 06:04 am

Fading Ramaphoria reveals the president’s human side

Protesters hold placards as they join a mass protest calling for President Jacob Zuma to step down, 7 April 2017, in Johannesburg. President Zuma is facing growing backlash against his recent government reshuffle and axing of the finance minister. Picture: Michel Bega

Protesters hold placards as they join a mass protest calling for President Jacob Zuma to step down, 7 April 2017, in Johannesburg. President Zuma is facing growing backlash against his recent government reshuffle and axing of the finance minister. Picture: Michel Bega

Perhaps we expected too much of Ramaphosa.

One swallow does not a summer make.

Nor, after two by-election defeats in the Northern Cape and North West last week, is the ANC about to be tossed into the dustbin of political history.

Yet, given that both seats were retained by the Democratic Alliance (DA) – which is dealing with its own internal problems – then perhaps the ANC should pay attention.

In the widespread euphoria after Jacob Zuma’s ouster as president, the ANC was poised to take the political initiative back from the DA, especially among the youth and urban dwellers. New ANC and State President Cyril Ramaphosa promised much when he began his “New Dawn” campaigns, appearing to be ready to take the ANC “back to the future” in reviving its old, hard-working and honest image.

However, under his watch some of the key indicators in the economy – including the rand/dollar exchange rate and unemployment – have got markedly worse.

VAT has increased in a desperate attempt to balance government’s books, which are looking as bad, or worse, than they have since the ANC was first voted into government in 1994.

In an attempt to prevent the Economic Freedom Fighters from hijacking the emotive issue of land, Ramaphosa unilaterally announced this month that expropriation of property without compensation would go ahead.

That damaged local and foreign investor and business confidence, and has helped further polarise the race debate in this country.

Perhaps we expected too much of Ramaphosa.

He is, clearly, no superhero and there are worrying signs he is unable to really make a change from the corrupt and inefficient past of the party he leads.

He has also seemed to take two steps forward and one back. Now, more than ever, this country needs vision and leadership, rather than “Ramaphoria” hero worship.

 

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