Ramaphosa: Why did we not see it coming?

Published Jun 28, 2022


Ray Solomons

PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa is very much like the tragic figure in the Shakespearean plays “Hamlet” and “Macbeth”. “Hamlet” because his vulnerability, which was always there but well hidden by his media chorus, eventually caught up to him, and “Macbeth” because his thirst for power could not be quenched by being satisfied with ruling, as was expected of him, but instead he tried to rule in the form of a dictatorship.

Ramaphosa’s failure is our failure as South Africans. All the telltale signs were there, but we ignored them. The first person to recognise Ramaphosa for what he is, and would not entrust him with the leadership of the ANC, was the late Nelson Mandela. It was Mandela who chose Thabo Mbeki to be the deputy president of the ANC and the country.

Ramaphosa’s revisionist journalists tried to convince the public that through some unknown gossip Mandela wanted Ramaphosa to succeed him. The truth is it was the Oppenheimers who tried to force Mandela to choose Ramaphosa as his deputy as they did not trust the pipe-smoking, whiskey-consuming, erudite Mbeki.

Mandela saw in Ramaphosa’s eyes what all of us see today, emblematic of dollars and someone who would sell his soul for the greenback. So let’s forgive Mandela and not blame him for not warning us in advance about “RamaDollar”.

What about Ramaphosa’s recent history? Well in 2012, Ramaphosa as in the court case by the Lonmin workers seeking compensation for their fellow miners having been massacred in what remains the largest mine massacre in South Africa’s history, where Ramaphosa was directly implicated in calling the police in to deal with these pesky miners who in his words, were a danger to Lonmin. Marikana will haunt Ramaphosa as much as the ghosts of Arthur Fraser to the very end.

But it was not just Marikana. Before Ramaphosa was elected to the ANC presidency, rumours were circulating about ANC co-ordinators and chief among them were current members of his Cabinet, Ronald Lamola and Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, who were reportedly running to Phala Phala farm to receive hundreds of millions to distribute to delegates to buy votes for Ramaphosa.

Ntshavheni, as it turns out, angered the other Ramaphosa loyalists because instead of distributing the amounts to delegates she was allegedly found to have received many millions into her personal bank account – and so it goes on.

By all accounts, Ramaphosa raised at the very least R1 billion all allegedly laundered through Maria Ramos’s Absa, Michael Jordaan’s FNB and Stephen Koseff’s Investec Simphiwe Tshabalala’s Standard bank, and Mike Brown’s Nedbank, which was busy with the Guptas, as per the Zondo Commission.

Ramaphosa is the first ANC president to openly admit to receiving money from white capital, allegedly paying ANC members to pay other members, allegedly laundering some of this money through lawyers’ trust accounts and other companies, and then having the temerity to construct two mansions on the slopes of Table Mountain said to be worth almost R100m.

So intoxicated were the Ramaphosa supporters with their hatred for Zuma that they ignored these signs that were right in front of them.

Then came Bosasa, the bizarre explanation of Ramaphosa’s son as well as the equally bizarre sudden death of Gavin Watson – still unexplained to this day.

Ramaphosa’s chairmanship of MTN in partnership with the woman-beaters, the Taliban, and those fanatics in the royal indictment in Iran, as well as indictments in the US of MTN for cavorting with terrorists still escaped the public eye. The sweetheart deal where the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) allegedly paid Ramaphosa for MTN Nigeria shares, which were hopelessly worthless at the time, are a telltale sign of things to come.

When the PIC reportedly invested few billion rand in Smile Telecoms, Ramaphosa’s partner and friend Irene Charnley, despite not being able to pay back a cent, gets appointed to the PIC board.

Then there is more…

His own presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko, who allegedly led the gorging of personal protective equipment (PPE) funds, by all accounts reportedly stole through her relative hundreds of millions of rand. Ultimately the Special Investigations Unit has shown that anywhere between R10bn and R30bn was stolen under Ramaphosa’s watch.

All of this occurred under Ramaphosa.

Covid-19 came and went and long after the country had been locked down and exhausted vaccinations, the World Bank gives Ramaphosa a R7.6bn loan to enrich his friends including none other than Aspen Pharmacare who donated to his campaign.

While the country was in real darkness, dollars were lighting up the homes of Glencore bigwigs, whose company to date has about R40bn of Eskom coal contracts. As if it was the duty of the US Justice Department to bring to light that Ramaphosa’s company, where he is a shareholder and chairman, had paid one of the biggest fines in US and UK history for bribery and corruption.

How could we not have seen all of that? How could we not have seen all of these signs? Ramaphosa was brazen when he ignored the decision of the JSC to not appoint Justice Mandisa Maya as chief justice. And when two days after being asked to respond to 31 questions relating to the #FarmGate saga he suspends the public protector.

This is the first president since the aparthied government who has put state security in his office, and he has taken control of the establishment media in print, radio and television. In the case of Arena Holdings’ Sunday Times and Business Day he has exchanged the country’s national airline for R51 to get only positive and good news about him and his fellow travellers such as Pravin Gordhan and others.

Ramaphosa’s failures are there for all to see, but as the saying goes there are none so blind as those who will not see.