Cyril Ramaphosa enjoyed his limelight moment at his colourful and exuberant inauguration – particularly as reality could be pushed into the background. Today, though, is really the cliched first day of the rest of his life.
And reality will have arrived with a jolt. He has to get down to the serious, and dirty, business of running the country – but also of rooting out the malign and corrupt influences within the ranks of his 107-year-old political organisation.
He has promised the country a cleaner and leaner Cabinet and, it would seem, he has already taken steps in that direction by excluding people like Bathabile Dlamini, Malusi Gigaba and Nomvula Mokonyane – who all have serious blots against their names, through either corruption or committing perjury – from consideration.
Because Ramaphosa can appoint a non-MP to Cabinet, it is still not cast in stone that those three particularly will make it to the inner circle of government.
If they do, though, many will conclude that the president’s much-vaunted “new dawn” will have been nothing more than political conjuring. More difficult for Ramaphosa is what he does with the position of deputy president, occupied in the previous administration by David Mabuza.
Also troubling is whether he can appoint Pravin Gordhan back into the cabinet. Mabuza has not been sworn in as an MP and is under investigation by the ANC’s integrity committee. He says he wants to clear his name, but until that is done, Ramaphosa dare not appoint him.
The same is the case with Gordhan, who has been accused of acting incorrectly by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Gordhan is to challenge her legally, but until he succeeds, Ramaphosa cannot appoint him either, for fear of being seen to defy the constitution in taking sides against Mkhwebane.
Uneasy, certainly, lies the head which wears the crown …