Cyril Ramaphosa, the worst president since dawn of democracy - analysts

President Cyril Ramaphosa Photographer: Henk Kruger / Independent Newspapers

President Cyril Ramaphosa Photographer: Henk Kruger / Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 19, 2024


In 2022, EFF leader Julius Malema described President Cyril Ramaphosa as the worst president South Africa has had since the advent of democracy.

Malema’s assertions were on the back of empty promises Ramaphosa had made since the start of his first term and immediately after succeeding former president Jacob Zuma. Zuma had been recalled by the ANC after the 2017 ANC conference in Nasrec.

At the time, Malema had said poverty, unemployment, corruption and the suffering of black people had deteriorated under Ramaphosa’s tenure.

“Mr President, you must admit that under your leadership, South Africa is in a worse condition than it has ever been.

“You are currently the worse president to have ever occurred to black people, and we are not surprised that black people are getting poorer under your leadership,” Malema had said during the 2022 State of the Nation address debate at Cape Town City Hall.

More than two years later, things have hardly changed for citizens.

With Ramaphosa set for his second term in office, political analysts and other commentators believe that things are about to get worse for most black South Africans who have had nothing but the promises made by Ramaphosa on the back of his famous “Thuma Mina” speech on February 14, 2018.

Speaking to “The Star” before his inauguration under the Government of National Unity (GNU), led by his party, the ANC, alongside the DA, IFP, PAC, Patriotic Alliance and other parties, political analyst, Kim Heller was scathing in her assessment of Ramaphosa’s first term.

“Cyril Ramaphosa has been the worst president of post-apartheid South Africa. He has done less than any other president to materially improve the lives of the most marginalised and poorest in society. This should be the priority of any president. He has failed dismally.

“His Phala Phala farm scandal has also brought the entire country into disrepute, and one would have expected that he would have stepped aside. His lack of will to hold those in the ANC accountable for serious transgressions and corruption is a sign of poor leadership. Mr Accountability and Mr Transparency has failed to live up to his promises,” said Heller on Tuesday.

With the country experiencing the worst stages of load shedding, high rates of unemployment, corruption and crime under Ramaphosa’s watch, Heller said nothing good had come out of Ramaphosa’s first term and there did not seem to be hope that things would improve under the GNU.

“Under the reign of Ramaphosa, unemployment has risen and the country is in a more desperate state than when he took the reins. He has failed to implement policies to boost jobs, the economy and true investment. His talk of renewal, both of the ANC and South Africa, are today nothing more than broken promises.

“The DA is set to take some key Cabinet posts in exchange for propping up both the ANC and protecting the president from Phala Phala investigations and culpability,” she said.

However, Professor Siphamandla Zondi said Ramaphosa’s first tenure had made some progress, especially towards the end.

These include the recent signing the National Health Insurance Bill into law and the load-shedding reprieve, as well as crime and corruption.

“His term was marked by some progress in certain areas such as the fight against crime and corruption, the mobilising of international investment, stabilising municipalities, the matric pass rate and so forth.”

The Star