100 days of the Ramaphosa man­date

Post - - OPINION - ■ Ami Nanackc­hand is a journalist.

The politi­ci­sa­tion of the fa­tal hi­jack­ing of the Sukhraj fam­ily ve­hi­cle is now to­tal… a process where the con­tri­bu­tion of me­dia has been much more than that of politi­cians with the op­po­si­tion in par­tic­u­lar, look­ing for a stick to beat the gov­ern­ing ANC with.

Chatsworth has been dubbed “lyn­chis­tan”; af­ter a spate of vi­o­lence and mur­ders.

A ven­er­a­ble res­i­dent of the town­ship has ar­gued that “a mon­strous new or­der is un­fold­ing, drenched by the blood of our in­no­cent ci­ti­zens…”

The killing of 9-year-old Sa­dia Sukhraj, served to fur­ther ex­pose di­verse vi­sions of a “new dawn” in South Africa.

As painful de­tails of the killing of the child come to light, res­i­dents have jus­ti­fi­ably re­acted with anger at the sense­less crime.

What is caus­ing mount­ing out­rage across the coun­try is the blasé at­ti­tude of the po­lit­i­cal es­tab­lish­ment to the crime epi­demic.

The re­sponses of the es­tab­lish­ment have ranged from si­lence, to weasel words try­ing to fudge the crimes, and non­cha­lance.

Sometimes it was even out­right jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, to trite re­as­sur­ances.

The first 100 days of Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa’s ad­min­is­tra­tion was an oc­ca­sion that would have gone largely un­no­ticed. But the lav­ish praises for the pres­i­dent reg­is­tered quite a bit in the pub­lic con­scious­ness.

The sim­ple rea­son is that, all pro­nounce­ments not­with­stand­ing, 100 days is a con­trived bench­mark to as­sess the per­for­mance of any govern­ment.

Most peo­ple need a longer time span be­fore they can come to a de­ci­sion about whether a govern­ment is a per­form­ing or non-per­form­ing one.

Also, whether or not the govern­ment cor­re­sponds to their sense of self-in­ter­est.

At the risk of jump­ing to hasty con­clu­sions a few ob­ser­va­tions may be in or­der.

First, while there is dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the govern­ment’s in­abil­ity to con­trol crime and cor­rup­tion; polic­ing; the ed­u­ca­tion and health care mess, rising food and fuel prices – in­creased once again this has not yet trans­lated into a larger po­lit­i­cal dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the Ramaphosa ad­min­is­tra­tion.

He may not en­joy a pro­longed hon­ey­moon but this doesn’t im­ply that the process of es­trange­ment has not be­gun.

Po­lit­i­cally, the ANC govern­ment still looks fairly com­fort­able.

And this level of com­fort has lit­tle to do with per­for­mance.

With the fear that next year’s gen­eral elec­tion could throw up an in­con­clu­sive ver­dict (po­lit­i­cal com­men­ta­tors are al­ready spec­u­lat­ing about a coali­tion govern­ment) some seem re­as­sured that a sta­ble govern­ment is in place.

Se­condly, the re-emer­gence of the SACP in the cast of the rul­ing coali­tion hasn’t meant a spurt in the re­form­ing zeal of the govern­ment.

The ANC is es­sen­tially a party wed­ded to the idea of a non-in­tru­sive and non-in­ter­ven­tion­ist state, de­spite calls for in­stance, the es­tab­lish­ment of a state bank and the na­tion­al­i­sa­tion of state re­sources and en­ter­prises.

There has been no change in that phi­los­o­phy and the global en­dorse­ment of Ramaphosa’s eco­nomic pol­icy has meant that he will not depart from the ANC’s well-trod­den path of con­ser­vatism.

The ANC is es­sen­tially a party wed­ded to the idea of a non-in­tru­sive and non-in­ter­ven­tion­ist state.

There has been no change in that phi­los­o­phy and the global en­dorse­ment of Ramaphosa’s eco­nomic pol­icy has meant that he will not depart from the ANC’s well-trod­den path of con­ser­vatism.

If there was an ex­pec­ta­tion in the work­ing class from the ANC’s Nas­rec con­fer­ence that the com­fort zone of pol­i­tics will fa­cil­i­tate some rad­i­cal change to their liveli­hoods, the pres­i­dent’s first 100 days has done very lit­tle to pro­vide it nour­ish­ment.

Ramaphosa’s rep­u­ta­tion for play­ing it safe and also try­ing not to ruf­fle feathers is leg­endary.

This may not win him a huge fan fol­low­ing but it has also en­sured that a cam­paign of vis­ceral hate against him is un­likely to ever suc­ceed.

When the gov­ern­ing party be­lieves it is time to iden­tify the 100th birth an­niver­sary im­prints of its grandees, Pres­i­dent Nel­son Man­dela and Al­bertina Sisulu on it, you can be sure of one thing the party is fast run­ning out of gov­er­nance poli­cies and strate­gies and that the nat­u­ral instinct of the party is to fall back on dy­nas­tic adu­la­tion.

There are some strik­ing fea­tures about an­niver­saries. The first is their sheer ar­bi­trari­ness.

What, for ex­am­ple, is so sig­nif­i­cant about the 100 days we so love to ob­serve?

I’ve just re­turned from Europe where the “royal” wed­ding in Bri­tain was a good time for the pro­duc­ers of me­mora­bilia.

The 100th an­niver­sary of the end of World War I and the 900th an­niver­sary of the lean­ing tower of Pisa will prove very lu­cra­tive for pub­lish­ers and com­mer­cial en­trepreneurs.

Fi­nally, the de­ci­sion which an­niver­sary to ob­serve and which to ig­nore is dic­tated purely by ex­pe­di­ency and pol­i­tics.

Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa.

AMI NANACKC­HAND

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