Why now, Ramaphosa?
CYRIL Ramaphosa gave the clearest sign yet of his intention to challenge for the presidency of the ruling ANC in December when he delivered the keynote address to the SACP conference, currently under way in Boksburg.
His speech to a highly receptive audience – members of a party that is hostile to Jacob Zuma, banning him from addressing them and calling for his removal – left no doubt that he was trying to put as much distance as possible between him and his boss, the president of the country.
The question is: How can he then, in good conscience, remain in office, given his unequivocal loathing of his principal?
As we have become used to, none of this was said mentioning Zuma’s name, but any other inference is impossible to make.
Unlike former national police commissioner Jackie Selebi, Zuma has never said the Guptas were his friends “finish and but he hasn’t needed to; his attendance at their private functions, his son’s employment and the slew of unanswered emails in the so-called Gupta leaks have rendered this redundant.
But therein lies the rub. Ramaphosa has served in the Zuma administration for the past four years as deputy president and has been ANC deputy president for two years longer – almost exactly the period under review for allegations of state capture and the looting of state-owned enterprises.
Not once has he opened his mouth, even though there have been a myriad opportunities to do so.
Not once has he chosen to take a stance that would show anything other than his unequivocal support for the president of this country, the president of his party and the same man’s administration of both through many cabinet reshuffles, some of which have been so brutal and profound, they’ve been nothing more than illdisguised purges of rebels.
Read in this context, Ramaphosa’s conversion on his own road to Damascus, five months away from the biggest political prize of all, is not only deeply suspect, it is profoundly opportunistic and expedient.
Is this the calibre of man the ANC wants to rule it for the next five years?