Political analyst Karima Brown neatly summed up the latest shock-horror scandal involving Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa – as the ANC heads into its most divisive electoral conference yet – by noting “all the pawns are playing their part”.
The “exposé” on the alleged love life and amorous dalliances of Ramaphosa came on the eve of nominations for the position of ANC president, which will be decided at the electoral conference in December.
Ramaphosa is the biggest threat to the continuation of the Zuma dynasty because he is the only challenger for the post capable of beating President Jacob Zuma’s ex-wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Ramaphosa has become more outspoken about corruption in the past few weeks and his campaign has been gathering momentum.
So the “Ramaphosa is a player” headline in The Sunday Independent should come as no surprise.
There was an earlier allegation, during Women’s Month, that Ramaphosa beat women … which was more fake news, even as a real slapper of women, then deputy higher education minister Mduduzi Manana, was actually being charged with assault.
Then there was a slur on Jeff Radebe for “sexting” with an attractive young woman – not long after he began making his presence felt in ANC ranks as a possible candidate.
Ramaphosa likens the revelations – and he admitted to having had an affair, which he confessed to his wife – to apartheid-era disinformation campaigns.
And there is merit in what he says. Zuma was the head of security in the ANC and learned his trade from the Soviets, the past masters of disinformation and smears as political tactics.
The possibility is that the Zuma camp has access to sophisticated e-mail and other snooping tools which can only be in the hands of the state intelligence services.
So, South Africa, be afraid. Be very, very afraid …