Why now, Ramaphosa?

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

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?

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