Guest Column

He may think he can, but Ramaphosa cannot save the ANC

2017-06-07 15:18
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Leon Sadiki, City Press)

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Leon Sadiki, City Press)

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Anneke Scheepers

Cyril Ramaphosa: the most ‘more of the same’ candidate that there could be in a leadership race.

His support, pieced together out of fragments of those disenchanted with Zuma, is fickle at best and here’s why.

Ramaphosa is being touted the candidate who will save the ANC from the moral decay that has gripped the party from deep within. He is going up against the dominant faction in the ANC of today, the Zuma camp. As much as Zuma’s support may be in decline, his internal strength should not be underestimated.

As it stands, the ANC NEC will not remove Zuma precisely because of this reality as his loyalists will cause havoc within the party. As we have seen, in the ANC, positions mean money and access to patronage and those clinging to power often resort to violence to keep them.

So what would happen should Ramaphosa succeed? If he manages to defeat the Zuma faction, it’s likely to be marginal at best. In terms of internal stability in the organisation, that is not the best eventuality because there will be strong opposition to the Ramaphosa leadership.

The ANC’s patronage network and its reliance on being in government in order to feed that network is precisely what will bring about such instability. Because, if Ramaphosa were to take the reins, for him to establish a power base around him, he would have to ensure that those people take up positions of power. It’s hard to see how Ramaphosa would get by without rewarding those who supported him, as his support is not truly his own.

The bulk of Ramaphosa’s support and any potential support he may garner in this race is made up of the disenfranchised; those who no longer want Zuma. It is not organic but conditional; in other words, it is not pro-Ramaphosa but anti-Zuma. Take Cosatu for instance; they support Cyril simply because they no longer support Zuma. There is no natural alliance between Cyril Ramaphosa and the workers of this country.

Ramaphosa – just like Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma – has been waiting in the wings for his turn at the helm. He is anti-Zuma, yes, but he is limp in approach because he has been institutionalised. In the wake of the Cabinet reshuffle, he waffled something on a side-walk about how he thought it was a bad move but that was the end of it.

Mr All-talk had no cards up his sleeve, he could take no action even though he knew what was unfolding before him was wrong. That is because although he is anti-Zuma he has been schooled in Zuma’s ANC. He too is a disciplined cadre and he will not disrupt the status quo. He will not mean change for the ANC, he is merely more of the same.

Ramaphosa says that “whether fair or unfair, the ANC is associated with corruption”. One wonders how on earth this can still be a question to him at this late stage. You see, the ANC lost a lot of ground during the last election, in key areas. They lost because the people are tired of seeing cadres benefit at their expense. If Ramaphosa cannot even commit to saying that the ANC is corrupt, how does that set him apart as a candidate who can fix the very corruption that is the ANC’s undoing?

With reference to the report issued by the South African Council of Churches on the extent and depth of the corruption that plagues the democratic structures of our time, the man suggested a judicial commission to probe the extent of state capture. Another probe, more inquiries but when will there be action? Action along the lines of labelling corruption a crime against the state or a priority crime, which must be dealt with harshly and swiftly or perhaps even a mandatory (harsh) minimum jail term – not redeployment. The answer: there won’t be because Cyril Ramaphosa is merely more of the same.

He is not a candidate who is strong on corruption or who has any resolve to root it out. He is not the ANC’s salvation. His only ticket to the big-time is that he is not Jacob Zuma.

- Anneke Scheepers is a former Politics and Cultural Studies lecturer and is currently the DA's Gauteng Communications Manager. She writes in her personal capacity.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

Read more on:    cyril ­ramaphosa  |  anc leadership race
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