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The trick to survival in politics it seems, is to play the ball and not the man. Not only does this prevent you from being yellow or red-carded, it can even engender admiration, or at the very least avoid a decline in popularity. Two pivotal figures in South African politics, former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, are classic examples. Both target State Capture and corruption as top issues while steering well clear of attacking Msholozi, the master puppeteer. Gordhan gave a master class in clean play when confronted by CNN’s veteran anchor and foreign coverage doyenne, Christiane Amanpour yesterday, praising Ramaphosa for confronting the ANC’s thorny issues and ‘speaking truth to power’. He deftly side-stepped her question about whether Zuma is a ‘good leader’ and steered the conversation back to the ANC’s risk of losing the 2019 elections. Give it time though. The ball will end up in Zuma’s hands, both at the mid-year ANC policy conference where policy intransigence will erupt, and at the year-end party elective conference showdown. Then we’ll see whether they’ll crash-tackle both man and ball. So far, Msholozi managed to treat the ball like a hot potato. – Chris Bateman.
By Jenna Etheridge, News24
Cyril Ramaphosa: The Audio Biography
Listen to the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to presidential power, narrated by our very own Alec Hogg.