Is Cyril a wolf in sheep’s clothing or a wily old fox?
Is President Cyril Ramaphosa throwing white farmers, white property owners and the South African economy to the wolves?
This question - maybe sugar coated and intellectualised - is being bandied about by most political analysts and the topic of discussion almost everywhere you go.
Esteemed commentators and Ramaphosa loyalists are starting to worry that his appearance on late night television to announce the ANC's endorsement of expropriation without compensation (EWC), is not merely certain elements in the ANC National Executive Committee talking, but the man himself. And if he is bowing to the pressure of certain populist elements in and outside of the party, then he shouldn't, they say.
This weekend an opinion piece by Mondli Makhanya in City Press featured the headline "Just like Zimbabwe, we will rue the day we chose populism over the rule of law".
He wrote: "Waving the slogan 'The Economy is the land and the land is the economy', former president Robert Mugabe’s government went on to wreck the economy by sponsoring the illegal seizure of mainly white commercial farms." He ended his extremely well written and panic-inducing piece like this: "... Ramaphosa will rue the day he became 'just another comrade' to protect his political power and the electoral fortunes of his party." But this is exactly where I beg to differ.
The man really does not have a choice. Cyril (as South Africans generally refer to the president) has to protect his political power at all costs and cement it in the deepest foundations of the wonky ANC. If he does not remain president, the country will be run by the very populists that Cyril has to 'play' and appease in order for him to make it to, and beyond, next year's general election.
I believe there are some issues - like the independence of the judiciary - on which he will never compromise. Standing firm under pressure to corrupt these pillars of our society, he will find tremendous support from the average South African and the democratic world.
He is biding his time. He knows that the amendment of section 25 of the constitution and the seizure of properties will be fought in the constitutional court - these cases will take years - giving him the time to get rid of the greedy vultures who won't allow him to act in the interest of South Africa and its people... and he did tell Putin in no uncertain terms that the promised nuclear deal won't happen.
This past Saturday (4 August 2018) The New York Times published a front-page story about Cyril's deputy, David Mabuza, that again highlights the severity of the allegations levelled against him. The ANC is yet to comment on the report and maybe they won't, but it adds more ammunition to Cyril's arsenal than Juju could ever wish for at a birthday celebration. I hope the president ensures that his own kingmaker's comrades, colleagues and supporters get to read the article. If not completely blinded by their hunger for power and money, they should then realise that NO ONE in Mabuza's vicinity is ever safe. Especially not the millions of rural learners whose lot in life Mabuza likes to champion whenever he has an audience. Read the article on the NYT website and weep.
If I am wrong about Cyril and it turns out that he is just a puppet dancing to the tune of a group of ANC heavies and Chinese money, then South Africa's days are truly numbered. He is our only hope. If not, then let's end the farce and hand control to Mabuza now - the sooner we get it over and done with, the better.