How world sees SA: Sowetans say Ramaphosa ‘the same’ as Zuma

EDINBURGH — Cyril Ramaphosa has been on a charm offensive, going for walks without a large security entourage in Cape Town and even a jog. These moves have been noticed by the international media houses, which have been analysing what lies in store for South Africa under a new president. Although Ramaphosa might have impressed some who took selfies with him, Sowetans are reportedly highly cynical about the integrity of the trade-unionist-turned-businessman. Shoppers at Maponya Mall told The New York Times that they reckon Ramaphosa is likely to be a similar animal to Jacob Zuma because power makes people do bad things. Nevertheless, Sowetans are likely to vote for the ANC regardless of the behaviour of the party’s leader because the ANC is seen as the party that rescued black South Africans from the misery of apartheid. – Jackie Cameron

By Thulasizwe Sithole

Black South Africans have told The New York Times that Cyril Ramaphosa is of the same ilk as Jacob Zuma – and that they will vote for the ANC regardless of the behaviour of the president.

The newspaper interviewed Soweto residents on their perceptions of Ramaphosa and expectations for life under a new leader.

In an article entitled ‘As Ramaphosa Hails a “New Dawn,” South Africans see more of the same’, Norimitsu Onishi sketched a picture of a South Africa in which citizens were likely to overwhelmingly vote for the ANC purely because of party loyalty.

Jacob Zuma speaks with Cyril Ramaphosa during the 54th national conference of the ANC in Johannesburg on December 18, 2017. Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

“I don’t think changing President Zuma will change anything,” 27-year-old Refiloe Mapanya told the publication. “At the end of the day, as long as you have power, even the new president will do the things the other guy did.”

“Many others” at Maponya Mall, Soweto’s most fashionable shopping centre, “echoed Mapanya’s comments “. “Few expected the sudden change in presidents – after several days of intense negotiations among a few party leaders – would bring change to their lives, though they expressed the hope that it would.”

The New York Times observed that Sowetans interviewed for the article “showed the resignation shared by many ANC supporters: They had lost hope in the party but could not bring themselves to leave it”.

Read also: Dawie Roodt: One down, more to go — getting rid of Zuma only the beginning

“Many in Soweto, the black township south of Johannesburg famed for its resistance to apartheid, cannot imagine leaving the party because of the indisputable good it brought to their lives. Maponya Mall itself, built a decade ago, was proof of that,” said Onishi.

Dipuo Kalodi, 34, a domestic worker, told The New York Times she had cast ballots for the ANC in every election since the end of apartheid in 1994. Mr. Ramaphosa is “the same as Zuma,” she said, adding, “They’ve been together for quite a long time. So what can you expect from that?”

The reporter noted that SUVs are on display at the mall and that international retail brands like Timberland and Le Coq Sportif are present alongside South African brands and restaurants. Local properties are on offer for around R1m near Maponya.