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Tyd sal leer of die veranderinge in die ANC-leierskap en pres. Cyril Ramaphosa wat nou aan die stuur van sake is, kiesers se beskouings oor die ANC gaan verander. Foto: Elmond Jiyane
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For the sake of the country, we need a president who has a strong public mandate to move forward with decisiveness and courage, writes Melanie Verwoerd.
It always amuses
me that when I criticise the ANC (which I often do), non-ANC supporters regard
my columns as "insightful". However, when I level criticism at other political
parties some people are quick to call me "a party hack".
again evident over the last week after my column in which I objected to the DA's
"a vote for the ANC is a vote for the EFF" strategy, which I believe
is a way of scaring voters into ignoring the DA's catastrophic year.
two articles responding to my original column. Whilst both authors raised some
interesting points, neither actually dealt with the DA's fearmongering.
Interestingly, there seems to be an almost panicked reaction from DA quarters to
the suggestion by myself (and many other analysts) that it is important for
Cyril Ramaphosa to deliver a big majority for the ANC in order for him to be
secure as leader of the country within his own party.
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explained the reasoning for this before, but as we get closer to the elections
it might be useful to revisit the argument.
It is very
clear to me (and I am sure to the vast majority of people in this country) that
we need Ramaphosa to lead South Africa for the foreseeable future. He is BY FAR
the best we have in terms of leadership.
There are a
few potential candidates from the Ramaphosa faction coming through the ANC ranks,
but they are still too young and inexperienced. I think we can all agree that the
former Zuma supporters aspiring for the position are not the ideal – to put it
it is also safe to say that a Julius Malema presidency would be catastrophic for
this country. In DA-world some (!) would argue that Mmusi Maimane would be a
good alternative, but if the year-long Patricia de Lille saga is anything to go
by, one has to shudder at the chaos it will create if a Maimane-led government
has to deal with the multitude of big problems that come with running a country.
So for the
foreseeable future we need the experience, level-headedness and economic acumen
of Ramaphosa. The fact that so much of our hope and faith for the future of our
country lies in a person – as opposed to a party or ideology – is of course not
a healthy or good thing. However, that is the political hand we have been dealt
with and we have no alternative but to move from here.
not mean that Ramaphosa is without fault or above criticism. Nor does it mean
that all will be well and that we will all be singing "Kumbaya" once
he delivers a solid majority for the ANC. It goes without saying that the
decades of destruction caused by apartheid and more recently the Zuma years
will take a long time to correct.
opinion polls we know that neither the EFF nor the DA will get close to an
outright majority nationally in the next election. Knowing that, the DA's
argument seems to be that in order to stop a possible ANC-EFF coalition, people
should vote for the DA – presumably to weaken both the ANC and EFF.
then follows whether the DA will form a coalition with the ANC should the ANC
drop below 50%? If so, that should be made clear to those same voters who they
are scaring into not voting for the ANC.
the question remains whether coalition governments are good for the country at
this time in our history. I would argue that we are not ready. You need amongst
others very mature politicians to make a coalition work and there are very few
of those in any of the political parties at the moment.
difficulties that the coalitions or cooperation agreements at local government
have run into seem a good case in point. As tragic as it is when a town or city
grinds to a halt because of the inability of a municipality to function,
imagine if that happened at a national level?
return to Ramaphosa and his position inside the ANC. It is clear that Ramaphosa
has made significant progress in consolidating support behind him. However, it
is also clear that his detractors, although temporarily focussed on winning an
election, have not gone away.
going into the details of the ANC inner-workings, it is clear that for
Ramaphosa to finally deal with his detractors, who use the fact that he won the
ANC presidency with the smallest of margins at the Nasrec conference, he has to
get a big public mandate.
If not, his
detractors will with renewed vigour try to "take the ANC back". Given
Ramaphosa's enormous popularity amongst branch members they will not easily get
rid of him, but the threat will continuously be there. Because of the power of
the political party (as opposed to the individual leader) in our political
system he will also constantly be put under pressure when it comes to
appointments, policy and executive decisions.
Given the enormous
and urgent task of rebuilding the economy and maintaining racial harmony, that
is not something we can afford. So for the sake of the country, we need a
president who has a strong public mandate to move forward with decisiveness and
courage as well as make difficult decisions, even if it might be unpopular with
some of his party's leadership.
next year's vote will be (and must be) less about ideology and more about
- 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.
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