Cyril Ramaphosa: The Emperor is naked and afraid – Eugene Brink

Six months into his second term, Cyril Ramaphosa has been labelled an “awful” president – who accumulated his huge personal wealth like a Russian oligarch on the back of a regime change. This devastating take down on his performance was delivered by independent political analyst Eugene Brink who likened Ramaphosa to a fearful Emperor with no clothes: a man who has disappointed citizens and investors alike; “who is afraid of his party, who’s enthralled to his party” – and who has filled his Cabinet  “with people he favours and some people he has to have there for the sake for political expediency”. Brink says Ramaphosa has “failed dismally” to deliver on his promises – but is “sadly” still the best the ANC has to offer right now.


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By Chris Steyn

Six months into his second term, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has been labelled an “awful” president – who accumulated his huge personal wealth like a Russian oligarch on the back of a regime change.

This devastating take down on his performance was delivered by independent political analyst Eugene Brink who likened Ramaphosa to a fearful Emperor with no clothes.

Brink spoke to BizNews following the applause the President recently received from the African National Congress (ANC) benches in the House after he made a speech in which he promised that “our challenges will be behind us”.

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Asked for Ramaphosa’s track record with regards to overcoming challenges, Brink says: “I just haven’t seen anything to really suggest that he is anything more than a mediocre president. I would actually say he’s been an awful president, actually. He hasn’t really done much to combat the real issues in the country.”

The political analyst also called Ramaphosa “an incredibly fickle leader in terms of promising things and not delivering”. 

“He’s always talking about things that are ongoing. We are busy investigating corruption. We are busy building this and this bridge in the Eastern Cape. Go and read his State of the Nation address. We are addressing the challenges in local government. None of these things are actually true. We don’t ever see any results. And I think after five and a half years – and after being re-elected in December at the ANC’s National Elective Conference with a bigger majority – you should have delivered by now.”

Brink says Ramaphosa hasn’t even been one of the best presidents since the first democratic election in 1994. “If the country has a high unemployment rate, you must accelerate economic growth, all of that. And I think he’s failed dismally.”

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He says investors are equally disillusioned. “They basically gave up on Cyril Ramaphosa as being an effective president who will actually implement the things that he’s promising at these investment summits. 

“His track record – and connected to the economy and unemployment – is his failure to address the problems at state-owned enterprises, especially ESKOM. Everybody’s saying it. He knows it. He is making promises that he’s not keeping. His weekly newsletters are also filled with lofty goals and things that are apparently underway. And we just can’t see the results. We’ve never seen the results.”

Brink slams Ramaphosa for filling his Cabinet “with people he favours and some people he has to have there for the sake for political expediency”.

And he likens Ramaphosa’s huge personal wealth accumulation to those of Russian oligarchs who became obscenely wealthy on the back of a regime change.  “..he got much of his wealth just on a silver platter. It was democracy’s dividends for the winners and he was one of the winners just like the oligarchs in Russia.  I mean, it’s the same as you can compare it to that they got all the state enterprises after Communism fell. And so, Cyril Ramaphosa and a handful of other people…benefited a lot from it…but they weren’t business people in the true sense of the word, who actually built something.”

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Brink also describes the President as someone who is “always speaking with a forked tongue”. However, he thinks “both audiences are growing wary of him”. 

Meanwhile, the President has taken on the appearance of an Emperor who is “naked – and afraid”. “I just think in the end, he’s a man who is afraid of his party, who’s enthralled to his party, and he is sadly the best there is right now that the ANC has to offer. Whether he will still be president after next year’s elections, we don’t know. We don’t know how that’s gonna play out. But he’s definitely failed on so many fronts that the emperor that we thought would govern this country well, appoint competent cabinet ministers, start cleaning up the bureaucracy and the corruption, and so forth…Yeah, he had no clothes in the end. He thought he was pretty grand, and I think he still thinks so. But yeah, he just didn’t deliver in the end. That’s the whole thing. It’s just one big disappointment, his presidency.”

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