What the grades mean

Mail & Guardian - - Cabinet Report Cards -

A: B: C:

at De­cem­ber 2017’s elec­tive con­fer­ence. His de­ci­sion to aban­don pres­i­den­tial con­tender Nkosazana Dlamini-zuma gave rise to Ramaphosa and his “thuma mina” call, but not with­out cost.

Mabuza’s dodgy rise to power and the end re­sult of that is well known, but how do we rate his stint as deputy pres­i­dent? Un­for­tu­nately for him, MPS haven’t for­got­ten his past. Since his in­au­gu­ral ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion in March, he has been grilled reg­u­larly on cor­rup­tion, his role in po­lit­i­cal killings and The New York Times ar­ti­cle that de­tailed how he al­legedly si­phoned funds from schools to buy po­lit­i­cal favour. His re­sponse in Au­gust be­came a meme: “Do I look like a crim­i­nal?”

Although he has re­peat­edly and cor­rectly told his ac­cusers to take their in­for­ma­tion to the po­lice, the con­stant need to de­flect crit­i­cism from the Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers and the Demo­cratic Al­liance re­sults in a broader ten­dency to stick to the script. But, per­haps most damn­ingly, he re­fused to back sug­ges­tions that women abuser and now for­mer deputy min­is­ter of higher ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing Mduduzi Manana should be thrown out of Par­lia­ment and in­stead sug­gested that any­one could be “cor­rected”.

Mabuza is also yet to dis­close the ex­act rea­sons for his 15-day ex­cur­sion in Oc­to­ber/novem­ber to Rus­sia, which re­mains one of the most con­fus­ing po­lit­i­cal stories of the year. Af­ter be­ing af­forded sick leave to re­ceive fol­low-up treat­ment in Moscow for a poi­son­ing in­ci­dent in Au­gust 2015, there were re­ports that he was in good health.

Con­fronted by the Sun­day Times about this, his of­fice in­ti­mated that it was lu­di­crous to sug­gest the deputy pres­i­dent needed to be ill to take sick leave. “We said he was on sick leave, so he was at­tend­ing to his med­i­cal health. But to say he’s gravely ill and sick, those are two dif­fer­ent things,” said Mabuza’s spokesper­son Thami Ng­wenya in a re­port by News24 .

We can hy­poth­e­sise that Ramaphosa would pre­fer not to rely on Mabuza to ful­fil any of­fi­cial en­gage­ments that he can­not. This is in stark con­trast to Ramaphosa’s

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