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.
Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa Foto: Theana Breugem (Theana Breugem )
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If Cyril Ramaphosa is truly committed to cleaning up the state, creating a professional and effective public service and putting the country on a steady economic growth path, he cannot commit to the ANC, writes Pieter du Toit.
The depth of South Africa's national crisis is becoming
clearer by the day.
Eskom's inability to keep the lights on is the most visible
manifestation of a failing and misfiring state, with South Africans of all
races, creeds and classes suffering from load shedding, darkness and economic
President Cyril Ramaphosa's ouster of the corrupted Jacob
Zuma in February 2018 was no small feat.
He had to mobilise a resistance movement inside government
and the ANC and fight against an adversary prepared to use state resources to
prevent his election as ANC leader in December 2017.
READ: Solly Moeng - Black people will vote for the ANC, while white people will for Ramaphosa
There is no doubt that the first year of Ramaphosa's
presidency was a success. He reshuffled Cabinet and got rid of some of the
worst of the Zuma ministers, instituted a number of inquiries to assess the
extent of state capture and mismanagement and set in motion processes to
install new leadership at various state institutions.
What this has done however is to clinically and forensically
expose how far gone the ANC is. The various investigations into corruption, malfeasance
and criminality have exposed the party as being the enabler and patron of deep
corruption and poor governance.
The commissions into state capture and SARS and the
investigations into the State Security Agency (SSA), the National Prosecuting Authority
(NPA) and the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) all show up the party and its
leaders as not only refusing to stop corruption and clean up government, but
often being the main actors in instances of criminality and mismanagement.
The ANC's refusal to put the brakes on Zuma's corrupting of
the state and his party was one of the main themes of testimony delivered at
the state capture inquiry by people like Pravin Gordhan, Mcebisi Jonas,
Nhlanhla Nene, Lungisa Fuzile, Barbara Hogan and others. And their recollections
of events merely serve to reinforce what has been reported on in the media for
close to a decade, documented by the former public protector in her reports
into Nkandla and state capture.
The repairs needed in government and state are extensive,
structural and ideological.
Inquiries and investigations over the last year have shown,
for example, how broken SARS, the SSA and the NPA are. Of the three, SARS is
probably in the best shape because of its strong institutional culture, but the
SSA will have to be razed and rebuilt from the ground up, while the NPA needs
At a governance level corruption, mismanagement and poor
delivery is rampant – from national government to municipal level. There is no
accountability and even less professionalism. And the civil service will have
to be re-equipped to be able to identify the line between party and state,
which has all but disappeared.
Where does this leave Ramaphosa?
His party is as divided as ever, its candidate lists are brim-full
with corruption-accused like Nomvula Mokonyane and Mosebenzi Zwane and the
internal plots and schemes to weaken him abound.
READ: Adriaan Basson - 'New dawn' but rogues are still more popular than clean Pravin
His advisers and surrogates argue he is trying to reform
both state and party at the same time. It seems quite impossible to do that,
given the ingrained culture of impunity that has metastasised inside the ANC.
If Ramaphosa is truly committed to cleaning up the state, creating a professional and effective public service and
putting the country on a steady economic growth path, he cannot commit to the
Because to save the state he is going to have to destroy the
networks of patronage and corruption that have proliferated under his
predecessor and have fed his party for years. He will have to demand accountability
from his comrades which will see many of them go to jail. And he will need to
have the confidence to make economic decisions that will be unpopular in the
ANC, but beneficial to the country as a whole.
But if he chooses to save the ANC, it will mean making
compromises with people like Ace Magashule, Jacob Zuma, Mokonyane, Zwane and
many others. It will mean maintaining those capture networks, letting the state
sink further into the morass of corruption and leaving those that have debased
government to loot further. And the only motivator in making that choice is to
hold on to political power.
Ramaphosa's finance minister, Tito Mboweni, said before
delivering his budget speech last month that they "need to start acting
like a government". Sydney Mufamadi, in his panel's report into the SSA,
twice wrote that reforms will need "bold leadership".
His choices will reflect whether Ramaphosa has the power of
his conviction to do what's in the national interest, not in the ANC's.
And the choice is clear: party or state. He cannot choose
- Du Toit is News24 assistant editor for in-depth news. Follow him on Twitter: @PieterDuToit
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