Mailbox: Will the real Cyril Ramaphosa please stand up.

By James Ausa*

Why would a man worth over R6bn leave the private sector and re-renter the world of politics?

The way I see it, there are 3 possibilities:

  • He felt that his political connections were dwindling and needed to become more politically relevant in order to continue to be a beneficiary of large BEE transactions.

I personally don’t think this is the reason. Ramaphosa is a well respected negotiator and strategist. He may have been a beneficiary of black empowerment in the same way that good looking people have an advantage in interviews but no matter how good looking you are if you can’t add value the game eventually ends. He was admired by business leaders and didn’t need political cronyism or interference to build on his success.

Cyril_Ramaphosa
Picture courtesy of Twitter
  • For the genuine betterment of this country

This is definitely not to be discounted. He spent his young life fighting for justice and equality. He repeatedly put his own life in danger for the benefit of this country and we are all indebted to him for that. Witnessing the unscrupulous behaviour of this government and his party may have compelled him to re-enter the political paradigm and attempt to fix the situation from the inside.

  • For personal aspirations

He obviously believes that he was a better candidate for the job when Mbeki outplayed him to become deputy president in 1994 and then president of the ANC in 1997. He made the call to leave politics in 1997 and focus his efforts in the private sector. Having reached the top of his game as a union man and then later in business, he may feel that the only thing left for him is to become president of the republic.

We can be sure about one thing. He didn’t get back into politics to be head of the National Planning Commission or to impotently oversee the demise of our State Owned Enterprises. He came back for the top job and everything he does is with that objective in mind.

There are many defenders of the deputy president that have said that if he intends to make a difference, he has to play the political game within the ANC structures so that he can take control of the party and get this country right again. That means not taking any stances against anyone in the Zuma camp, espousing populist rhetoric and as much as possible flying below the radar.

There may be some validity in this argument.

The problem is this. The odds are seriously stacked against his becoming the next president of the ANC. The premier league and by implication the ANCYL and ANCWL are in favour of Miss Dlamini-Zuma. Ramaphosa’s association with the tragedy at Marikana has definitely tainted his reputation among the poor and working class of this country. Lastly, and potentially most importantly, is that if Jacob Zuma still has any political clout cum the national convention next year then he definitely isn’t lending any of it to Cyril. Cosatu did cautiously back Ramaphosa in November last year but it doesn’t appear as if that is going to be enough.

This begs an important question then:

Cyril, what the hell are you doing?

If you are a credible and honest leader as many South Africans believe you to be then why are you still keeping quiet? When you are not voted in as the president of the ANC in 2017 and you once again resign from politics to go back into the private sector, anything you say then against corruption and state capture will be as a scorned outcast of your party. Those who ousted you will say you are bitter. Everybody else is going to want to know why you waited this long to speak out about what you clearly know has been happening since you got there. Also, when you leave politics, nobody is going to want to do business with you because the unscrupulous tenderpreneurs will know you have no political capital and the honest business people will know that you sold them down the river when you had the chance to stop the malaise. i.e. if the motivation for returning to politics was for financial gain then this will turn out to be a resounding failure.

Read also: Sara Gon: Cyril Ramaphosa – friend or foe?

Your friend and comrade that has fought for the same ideals as you have is facing a political conspiracy that may end in his arrest. As it currently stands, he is the only credible politician that we have that continues to fight for our country. He is a giant that is willing to sacrifice his own life to protect this nation.

Your response:

“The minister of finance is today facing what could be an arrest. It should concern us. When the government works well, it should not be a government that wages a war against itself,”

You’ve been around the president so long that you’ve developed his uncanny ability to speak so much without ever really saying anything. It is not even clear whose side you are on?

If you had stayed in the private sector you would have had a clean slate and been in a better position to make a stand against the dishonourable leader. You still had the perception of integrity and you still had influence.

Stand up now, make your feelings known and attack the rot that destroys our country. If you don’t then know that your struggle credentials will be forgotten with those of number 1’s and your legacy will be one of a feeble, gutless politician that pandered to his party when his country needed him most.

“The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones.”

  • James has a BSc in Mathematics and Economics and invests, in his personal capacity, in real estate, shares and private businesses. He has a passion for science and big ideas and is rumoured to be referred to as “having had a lot of potential” by his parents.