The dignity of the state capture commission has been held up by Zondo's personal approach. Even the most reluctant witness could not gather the rudeness to withdraw.
President Cyril Ramaphosa and National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete. (Gianluigi Guercia, AFP)
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Even the commander in chief of the red army,
Julius Malema, had to join the standing ovation after President Cyril Matamela
Ramaphosa had delivered, arguably, the best parliamentary speech since Thabo
Mbeki's "I am an African" 22 years ago.
Sworn in as president of South Africa a day
before, Ramaphosa forced his way into the annals of history when in one speech,
he demolished the decade-old corrupt patronage edifice of his predecessor,
When towards the end of his speech, he invoked
the lyrics of recently departed music and struggle icon Hugh Masekela's song Thuma
Mina, even the perennially hostile Julius Malema, together with his red
brigade, stood up to cheer the new president.
Reminiscent of former US president JF Kennedy,
who at his 1961 inaugural speech mesmerised his nation when he exhorted his
countrymen to "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can
do for your country," Ramaphosa exhorted South Africans to volunteer their
services for free to rebuild the broken country. He hit the right note with a despairing
nation after a decade of ruinous leadership. Indeed, nearly every South African
today is asking the president what it is they could do to make a contribution
to the renewal of the nation. They want to be sent to national duty with
Forty eight hours
before this historic speech, Ramaphosa was fighting a furious internal party
battle to get Zuma to resign and hand over power to him. In defiant
desperation, realising that his party was going to remove him through a motion
of no confidence, the ruinous "constitutional delinquent" gave in at
the very last moment, ushering in a new era in the history of South Africa.
Waiting in the wings
to lead an economically damaged and politically fractured country, Ramaphosa
did not disappoint. In a dramatic symbolic gesture of rebirth, he is promoting
good health by engaging in highly publicised morning walks with which he is
asking South Africans to join him in #MokhabaMustFall.
The interest shown by
ordinary people and the media signifies an ideological break with the past. The
buffalo is charging and ready to gore its adversaries as it takes over total
control of the country.
Never since the dawn
of democracy in 1994 under the leadership of president Nelson Mandela has the
South African nation been so hopeful of the future. With Mandela, after the
fall of apartheid, the great statesman had to manage white fears and black
aspirations. Ramaphosa steps into a tricky situation.
Now 24 years
in power, the fortunes of the ANC are declining, especially since Zuma came to
power in 2009. A combination of corruption and mismanagement has led to an
economic wasteland and political quicksand. In an unholy political alliance,
the leftist EFF and the rightist DA have colluded to dislodge the ANC in three
rich metros in South Africa. There is no doubt that Zuma was the main cause of
the loss of these metros and the general decline in ANC electoral support
The fall of Jacob Zuma
on Valentine's Day led to Ramaphosa being the supreme leader in South Africa as
ANC president and occupant of the Union Buildings. While he will have many long
battles to gain the overwhelming support in the ANC considering his narrow
victory at last year's party conference, the powers of the presidency allow him
to stamp his authority in the land.
He has the authority
to reshuffle Zuma's extraordinary mediocrity in Cabinet, rationalise government
departments, breathe new life into captured crime and corruption busting
agencies, restructure state-owned companies and stimulate the depressed
With these actions
only, South Africa can begin to make a break with the Zuma past and move with
confidence into the future. Domestic and international capital have already
indicated their willingness to inject much needed money into the economy
because they believe that under the stewardship of Ramaphosa, South Africa is
on the road to recovery.
As a visionary and a
shrewd politician, Ramaphosa knows very well how important it is to mobilise
the entire nation around a common vision. He has already cast that vision,
especially during his long campaign to win the presidency of the ANC. He is
currently developing a roadmap to recovery.
Indeed, Ramaphosa has
inherited a "broken country" to quote opposition leader Mmusi
Maimane. It is his responsibility to fix this broken country. Unlike Zuma,
Ramaphosa realises that partisan party mobilisation will not save the embattled
party and country. Only a comprehensive, inclusive and non-racial national
mobilisation can rebuild South Africa.
It is therefore
critically important for Ramaphosa to lead the rebirth of Emeritus Archbishop Desmond
Tutu's rainbow nation. Every worker, entrepreneur, teacher, farmer, miner,
doctor, politician, hawker, student and all sectors of society need to hold
hands in a common effort to rebuild the country.
All South Africans
must lend a hand to ensure the success of the rebirth. A nation is ready to be
born again. It may be early days, of course, but the vision is cast and the
roadmap is clear. Thuma Mina, Mr President.
- Sello Lediga is a
political commentator, historian and author.
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.
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