ANC reform poses tough challenge for Ramaphosa
By Tasie Theodore
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is finding out that carrying out his promised reform within the ruling African National Congress, ANC poses an even tougher challenge than he had initially figured out.
Ramaphosa, who came into office following widespread disaffection with the party of Nelson Mandela after the years of scandals that had been the experience in the Jacob Zuma presidency where he had served as Deputy President, is also at the moment battling to address a stubborn and unrelenting spike in Coronavirus numbers in the country.
Part of the challenge analysts say is the fact that the convention of the ANC that had produced Ramaphosa as leader of the ANC had actually also prevented him from pushing ahead with firmer reforms, given that it had left a very weighty part of the collegial leadership structure of the ANC in the hands of the old guard.
Evidence of this came out recently when Ramaphosa called for moderation in the persisting practice of insider contracts abuse, where relatives and associates of ANC leaders, are unduly favoured over other members of the public in the award of government contracts.
But his response to what has been described as a new corruption scandal has been resisted by the old guard within the governing ANC and led by the party’s secretary-general, Ace Magashule, who said there was nothing stopping families of ANC leaders doing business with the government. Instructively, Magashule’s response came two days after Ramaphosa cautioned against the practice.
“If, as public servants and political office-bearers, we truly care about the public whose interests we claim to represent, we must allow ordinary members of the public who have interest in doing business with the government a fair chance to bid for such business opportunities, instead of passing on inside information about opportunities to our families and friends,” said the president.
This is not the first time that Magashule, whose sons have presently bagged controversial COVID-19 contracts has contradicted Ramaphosa’s position, raising questions about who runs the country and where it is run from, namely the ANC headquarters at Luthuli House or the Union Buildings seat of government
Other than the continuing vestiges of #StateCapture that remain quite prevalent, Ramaphosa and South Africa under his watch , is also contending with spiraling unemployment numbers.