For Mboweni's growth plan to succeed the ANC has to give up certain dogmatic positions that were formulated when 7% growth was the status quo, writes Adriaan Basson.
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In May this
year I wrote a piece under the title “Could Zuma be planning an ambush?” In it
I warned that such an ambush could take the form of “damaging disclosures
(truthful or otherwise) about the other side”.
conversations with business I repeated my belief that the Zuma camp will almost
certainly use stories of a sexual nature against Cyril Ramaphosa closer to the
And so it
came to pass.
published over the weekend was totally predictable and, if it wasn’t for the
very worrying possibility that state resources were used to hack Ramaphosa’s
private emails, almost boring.
Of course there
was also the irony of the Zuma camp trying to tarnish the opposition with
stories of infidelity.
question is now whether Ramaphosa can survive this in and outside the ANC?
I think he
can under certain pre-conditions. The first pre-condition is that he cannot lie. I suspect that the majority of people could not care less what
consenting adults (politicians or anyone else) do behind bedroom doors.
infidelity was a crime possibly half of this country and most politicians would
be in jail. It might be hurtful to the other party in the marriage, but that is
for those involved to sort out.
our current president South Africans don’t really blink about polygamy. It is
also widely accepted that the president has numerous girlfriends. He is
unapologetic about it and at most the nation laughingly wonders where he gets all
his energy from.
Ramaphosa’s sexual escapades should only make for a bit of salacious reading
and perhaps a couple of funny memes … unless he doesn’t come clean.
Clinton found out, it wasn’t so much the romping around in the Oval office with
Monica Lewinsky that got him impeached, as it was the I-did-not-have-sex-with-that-woman
denial. It raised questions about his honesty, integrity and ability to run the
As a nation
we have also become totally numbed by our politicians lying incessantly not
only to the electorate, but even to their own colleagues in Parliament – which
is in fact a crime.
vast majority of people inside and outside the ANC want change and thus need Ramaphosa
to be different.
We need a Madiba-like
leader: someone to be proud of, who can be trusted, who can re-calibrate the
nation’s moral compass and of whom we can assume the best, rather than always
expecting the worst.
And so if
there were more than one woman, Ramaphosa should not try and spin this or play
around with words. He must confess right now, apologise and sort things out
with his spouse (not necessarily in that order). Then he will most probably be
seen as “just human” and given brownie points for coming clean. But not if he
betrays our trust.
Ramaphosa can survive this crisis if there are no other scandals that stick. The
Zuma camp has already tried the “he-beat-his-wife” tactic (again, so
predictable). The Ramaphosa camp handled the accusation with aplomb, but what will
the Zuma camp try next?
team must use their own intelligence to get ahead of these stories and expose
them as smear tactics (assuming that is all they are) and so possibly even secure
a few additional sympathy votes.
Ramaphosa must now pick up the sword and enter the battle – with 100%
commitment. Two weeks ago I raised the question of why Ramaphosa was so quiet.
as it was to write a column titled, “Now I know why he is so quiet”, I don’t
believe that would have been correct. I think something more serious was
revealed during this past weekend’s dramas.
late night bid to stop the publication of the story Ramaphosa’s legal team
argued that he has a right to privacy and that certain parts of his life is not
of public interest.
That is not
true and it is worrying that Ramaphosa would allow his lawyers to even go
who were falsely mentioned in the leaked text messages absolutely have a right
to privacy. They could have stopped
the story and should still consider legal action against those who linked them
to these accusations.
if Ramaphosa was still in business and had stopped all political activity he
could also have claimed the right to privacy. But as deputy resident and
presidential hopeful everything about him is of public interest.
otherwise possibly explains why there is at times a sense of ambivalence around
Ramaphosa’s presidential campaign.
He is no
longer the billionaire businessman who can claim certain things that come with
that lifestyle – such as privacy when it comes to bedroom matters. He simply
can’t be both businessman/private citizen and deputy president/presidential
president requires more than resigning board seats and letting go of business
interests. It also demands letting go of a certain state of mind and becoming
totally focussed in this gladiator-like battle.
fighters in Roman times, he cannot enter the arena with any ambivalence if he wants to survive. Nor can he,
when the lions are storming down on him, try Codesa-like to negotiate his way out.
choice he has is either to stand and fight or run like hell.
Ramaphosa said that he wasn’t going to run away. That is good news, but he must
have a battle plan beyond having names of both camps on his list and denying
accusations of wrong-doing as they surface.
one thing we know is that the lions are out and they are hungry.
- Melanie Verwoerd is a former ANC MP and South African Ambassador to Ireland. 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.* Only comments that contribute to a constructive debate will be approved by moderators.
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