Ramaphosa’s praise singers fall silent

President Cyril Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa

Published Sep 1, 2020


By Professor Sipho Seepe

Denunciation of President Ramaphosa’s leadership and his administration has come thick and fast.

This time, the chorus of condemnation has come from the very media houses that fanatically campaigned for his presidency. These media houses, and their embedded journalists, had been mere hired guns and foot soldiers in the service of Ramaphosa’s political ambition. In doing so, they abandoned their role as honest observers and recorders of history. They became praise-singers and modern-day jesters in the service of Ramaphosa’s court.

Nothing exposes the fraternity’s hypocrisy more than its seeming lack of interest in pursuing and/or investigating allegations of possible malfeasance, bribery and corruption in the CR17 campaign. Most damning is the insinuation that certain members of the judiciary are recipients of brown envelopes associated with the campaign. This is the scariest development.

A prepaid judiciary is the single greatest threat to our democracy.

The most scathing criticism of Ramaphosa relates to his mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic. Leading the pack, Peter Bruce (Sunday Times, July19) argues that it is nothing short of an omnishamble - “a situation comprehensively mismanaged, characterised by a string of blunders and miscalculations”.

Questioning Ramaphosa’s political morality, Bruce states: “Ramaphosa was part of a recent national executive decision to reinstate ANC members linked to those who swindled VBS pensioners. One would have thought that the plight of pensioners would have given the so-called vanguard of the poor pause to reflect, but no.

“Greed and party interests are paramount. And two years after taking office, the economy is in worse shape.”

And in her article “Ramaphosa and Gordhan fail on every energy promise as load shedding grips SA” (Daily Maverick, July 14), Ferial Haffajee reminds us that Ramaphosa was entrusted with turning around the fortunes of Eskom as far back as 2014.

In 2015 Ramaphosa promised: “In another 18 months to two years, you will forget the ‘challenges’ at Eskom ever happened.”

Ramaphosa made a similar promise in February during this year’s State of the Nation Address. “ as Eskom works to restore its operational capabilities, we will be implementing measures to rapidly and significantly increase generation capacity outside of Eskom”.

Again, Haffajjee notes, “five months later and nothing has happened apart from yet more load shedding”.

If truth be told, Ramaphosa is both a villain and a victim. He is a villain in that he allowed himself to be used by those who sought to dishonestly absolve him from the errors of commission and omission that took place during the Zuma administration that he was part of. Ramaphosa is a victim of the propaganda that sought to dress him in borrowed robes. He enthusiastically embraced the narrative of “nine wasted years” - part of a broader narrative designed to divide the ANC and to mislead in the name of Thuma Mina and Newdawnism.

In trumpeting New Dawnism and “nine wasted years”, Ramaphosa could count on a plethora of self-appointed opinion-makers, “reputable” academics, journalists of “note”, “prominent” religious groups, self-serving foundations, and chief executives of sponsoring corporations including the big banks. Interestingly, these self-appointed custodians of our democracy have since retreated into silence.

Fortunately, history reminds us that false narratives have never turned around the fortunes of any country.

* Seepe is Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Institutional Support at the University of Zululand.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL.

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