The National Freedom Party (NFP) has found its voice after being relatively absent in the political discourse for a while, and its clarion call is that President Cyril Ramaphosa should step down because he has proved to be unfit to hold office.
In an open letter dated this Monday, NFP secretary-general Canaan Mdletshe said that Ramaphosa’s handling of the recent incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma was his biggest downfall, and it would go down in history as probably the turning point in South Africa’s political landscape.
“Your handling of protests in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng cost the country hundreds of lives, massive economic impact and huge destruction to property. It inflicted enormous pain and suffering, and caused immense harm to the country’s international reputation,” he said.
He said, “history will judge you harshly for letting loose Phoenix hooligans and vigilante groups”.
“As we speak, those thugs are terrorising poor blacks. Social cohesion will never be restored in some parts of KwaZulu-Natal because of your poisonous statements.”
As a concerned citizen, said Mdletshe, “we think you have played your part”.
“You have run your race and we appreciate all the efforts you have put in trying to make things right. Unfortunately, you have failed where it mattered the most. You disowned your own black people and dined with the super-rich. You have completely lost touch with the underprivileged”.
He said Ramaphosa’s own ministers were constantly contradicting him, “publicly denouncing and challenging your authority by demonstrating that you are no longer in charge”.
He said that, even within the ANC, Ramaphosa no longer wielded any power and party members no longer trusted him because “to many, you are a shame”.
He said that, under Ramaphosa’s administration, “we find ourselves in a toxic environment where even the judiciary is seen or perceived to be dancing to the tunes of the dominant ANC faction. It’s disastrous.
“The army that you deployed is terrorising our grandmothers and the poor in hostels, townships and rural areas, collecting food – food that has brought hope to those who survive by emptying dustbins – continuously harassing the poor and marginalised.”
He said that Ramaphosa ascended to the presidency with “excitement, glitz and glamour” and the hope that the country would turn a new page with his “new dawn” slogan, but, sadly, failed to live up to expectations.
“Little did we know that, soon after all the hullabaloo and some sort of grandstanding, the reality would strike as wheels came off rather early. Your status as a superpresident, a messiah, crumbled. Not because of your political enemies, but by your own actions,” he said.
He continued: “You increasingly distanced yourself from the ordinary people. To you, poverty was nonexistent. Those who perceived you as a saint soon realised it was all a bad dream – a nightmare. White supremacy became your immediate priority, leaving the poor still languishing in poverty.”
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He accused Ramaphosa of “confiding more to white businessmen than to your own comrades. Some even suggested that you were a white person in a black man’s skin.
“As corruption allegations, scandal after scandal involving members of your Cabinet manifested, a hard reality hit us all. Accusations of your having bought your presidency started making the rounds. Instead of publicly denying or corroborating the allegations, you opted to use courts.”
He said that the “Bosasa bombshell, sealing of your CR17 [ANC presidential campaign] records, missing R500 billion, ministers misbehaving and revolting against you, personal protective equipment corruption, and many other scandals remain your legacy”.
Mdletshe decried that South Africa was no longer the same, saying the country was in a crisis as “disaster after disaster befalls this once-beautiful country”. But, he said, “all that is taking place currently is man-made [and] it is your faults and your desires to cling to power even when all the stakes are stark against you”.
“Yes, one would be unfair not to give you some credit on how you have brought some sort of economic stability, but, at the same time, widened inequality in our country. The rich have become richer and the poor poorer.”