Guest Column

Cyril Ramaphosa will drag us all down the drain

2017-12-14 09:42
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Leon Sadiki, City Press)

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

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Herman Mashaba

The past eight years of ANC rule under Jacob Zuma have, simply put, been characterised by fraud, corruption and a depravity of governance. 

This week, the ANC will choose their next leader at their 54th national elective conference, with the two of seven presidential hopefuls, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, leading the race. 

If we are honest with ourselves, the election of either of the two frontrunners will not result in anything more than the same brand of ANC politics that we’ve endured since at least 2009 – an ANC that has allowed corruption to seep into every branch of the organisation.

This culture of corruption was evident for all to see in Johannesburg. 

In a little over a year, we uncovered R16.2 billion in corruption within the City Council. This level of corruption doesn’t magically appear. It is purposefully cultivated in the dark corners of institutions by those in positions of power – in this case by members of the former ANC administration.

The two motions of no confidence brought against the Speaker of Council for the City of Johannesburg, Vasco da Gama, and myself, were frantic attempts by the ANC to silence talk of this corruption, and to re-attach themselves to city contracts and resources.

However, I digress.

I don’t want to just speak of the culture of the corruption represented by the ANC. I want to speak to how the ANC’s potential future leaders will only serve to further cement that culture.

In particular, I’m deeply concerned of the brand of leadership proffered by Mr Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa was once an admired trade unionist who led the National Union of Mineworker’s biggest strike in South Africa’s history, when in 1987, he led 300 000 mineworkers in downing tools for three weeks, and bringing the country’s mining industry to its knees. 

Later, he and National Party politician Roelf Meyer, despite being political adversaries, set aside their political differences in the interests of negotiating a peaceful transition to democracy.

I believe that if Nelson Mandela had had his way, Ramaphosa, instead of Thabo Mbeki, would have eventually come to serve as president in 1999.

Telling then, is Ramphosa’s 1997 withdrawal from political life when Mbeki was anointed to take over the presidency in 1999.

Ramaphosa instead chose to enter the business arena, doing so at a time when corporates sought out politically connected and celebrated black men to give their organisations BEE credentials.

Ramaphosa, the vehemently anti-capitalist former trade union leader became an enthusiastic and adept capitalist.

I have no axe to grind with his commercial success. 

Whilst Ramaphosa has evaded prosecution for any illegal business dealings, he has been implicated in controversial dealings such as his chairmanship at MTN during the MTN Irancell scandal, and his damning involvement in Lonmin during the Marikana Massacre.

It’s difficult to be anything but outraged at the mention of Marikana. 34 dead miners, 78 injured miners – most of whom were shot in the back.

It was Lonmin director and the ANC’s deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, who was lobbied to secure action against the protesting miners. It is criminal that this multi-millionaire abandoned all knowledge and skill as a successful and adroit labour broker, and, by doing other men’s bidding, sanctioned the death of 34 black men who worked for him.

And so, who else’s bidding will he do?

In the past three years, as deputy president, Ramaphosa has consistently referred to ‘my president’ when referring to President Zuma, who has all but stripped South Africa of its assets that aren’t bolted down and immovable. 

Ramaphosa publicly supported 'his' president until it became apparent that his president had backed his former wife in the leadership race, instead of him. He has since conveniently abandoned his sycophantic demeanour towards the president, and switched to dishing up the dirt on him instead.

In 2006, President Zuma managed to sidestep a charge of rape made by Fezekile Kuzwayo. The ANC mobilised in support of him. Yet, in recent weeks, aware that he doesn’t have the president’s support in his ambitions in the presidential race, Ramaphosa acceded that he believed Zuma had indeed raped Ms Kuzwayo.

How insulting to the Kuzwayo family, and indeed the country, that Ramaphosa didn’t have the moral fibre to stand up sooner. Why the sudden convenient realisation?

Let me say it plainly, in Cyril Ramaphosa, we have a dangerous individual who seeks to take control of our country now downgraded to junk status, because of its rent-seeking politicians.

Ramaphosa enjoyed social success as a trade union leader, political success in his early career, and corporate success as the multi-millionaire owner of numerous national corporations – what then is his motivation to lead the country?

He has no social capital within the country, indeed his order to the police to make a show of force in Marikana, which led to them shooting miners in the back, shows his utter disregard for black lives. 

Perhaps Zuma is not the only captured individual in the ANC. Perhaps Ramaphosa’s business and political backers have been patient, perhaps they too are waiting for their pay day.

Just this week Cyril Ramaphosa tweeted, "The Johannesburg Metro belongs to the African National Congress. We must bring Johannesburg back home."

This tweet is telling of Ramaphosa, of the ANC, and their mind set, because they absolutely believe that South African cities, officials, people, land, and assets belong to the ANC.

Metros like Johannesburg are essential to an ANC that loots and plunders the metros' assets to the detriment of ordinary South Africans.

Mr Ramaphosa, the City of Johannesburg belongs to the people who live in it.

Essentially we have a presidential hopeful concerned with himself and his potential to strip South Africa to its bare bones.

I am confident that this election will mobilise South Africans in even greater numbers to serve the death knell to the ANC. 

South Africa deserves better.

- Herman Mashaba is executive mayor of the City of Johannesburg.

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.

Visit our special report, #ANCVotes, for all the news, analysis and opinions about the ANC’s national elective conference.

Read more on:    herman mashaba  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  johannesburg  |  anc leadership race  |  anc
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