Rant | Does Cyril just want to lie in bed and watch reruns of...


Rant | Does Cyril just want to lie in bed and watch reruns of ‘Friends’?

After noticing Imtiaz Sooliman's three cellphones, MAX DU PREEZ wonders if President Ramaphosa would rather be relaxing in his striped pyjamas instead of running the country. Does the man have no sense of urgency at all?


YES, YES, YES, I know it's an extremely difficult task to be the president of post-Zuma South Africa and, on top of that, the leader of the beleaguered ANC. In the last few years, I've come up with more excuses for Cyril Ramaphosa than for anyone else in my entire life — the famous “long game," the RET/Zuma danger, the Zulu danger, Covid, etc, etc.

But if you don't like a warm stove and dirty dishes, shouldn't you get out of the kitchen? After all, he's a billionaire; unlike most of his fellow countrymen, he doesn't have to wonder where his next meal is coming from.

About 10 months ago, Ramaphosa reportedly tried to resign after the panel of Justice Sandile Ngcobo found he might not emerge entirely clean from the Phala Phala scandal.

Lees hierdie artikel in Afrikaans:

I was one of those who hoped he wouldn't resign. Not because I thought he was a good president, but out of fear that someone like Paul Mashatile or Gwede Mantashe would take over from him.

The ANC heavyweights also didn't want him to resign, not out of love for Cyril but more out of fear that the party would surely lose next year's election without him at the helm.

I don't know why he didn't resign then. He's a smart, sophisticated man. He must have known his country and his administration were on a downward spiral and that it would take decisive, brave steps to change course.

And “decisiveness" and “bravery" are not his strong suits; rather, it's procrastination, kick for touch and laissez-faire.

Look, we can insult Cyril all we want, it remains a fact as clear as day that South Africa would have been much, much further down S Street if the dying-on-medical-parole figure who still parades loudly on public stages weekly, or his proxy, had been president after 2018.

But it's like saying South Africans are freer today than under apartheid. Duh.

Ramaphosa's recent performances on the international stage, such as at the Brics and G20 summits, remind us what a talented person our president is.

Why can't we benefit from his talents for once?

When the devastating storms hit the Western Cape last weekend, Premier Alan Winde was on the job day and night. He didn't retreat to his official residence, Leeuwenhof, and let his MECs take over. He didn't consult the DA's federal council. He ran around in the rain, checked things himself, made sure the work was being done and regularly reported to the public.

Of course, the job of a premier is not as big a responsibility as being president of the entire country, but it's an example of how a crisis should be managed.

But there's no crisis in South Africa, says minister after minister and windbag ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula almost every day. Because they never run out of water or electricity, they're treated by private doctors, protected by hordes of bodyguards and chauffeured around in long blue-light convoys.

A president can't micromanage, but he must keep his finger on the pulse, immediately become aware of crises and problems, keep his cabinet properly on their toes.

I was on the same stage as Gift of the Givers' Imtiaz Sooliman on Thursday night. He placed three cellphones in front of him on the podium before he began speaking. He wants to know immediately where there's a crisis so he can take action. He manages his complex international organisation like a conductor controls an orchestra.

Maybe we should launch a GoFundMe project and buy Cyril two more cellphones.

Electricity is one of our biggest crises. After André de Ruyter was unceremoniously ousted from Eskom, the board considered 147 candidates for his position and recommended a new CEO in May. Five months later, the responsible minister, Pravin Gordhan, says he refuses to appoint that candidate. It may be months before Eskom has a leader again.

Pick up that fucking cellphone, Cyril, call Pravin and tell him to do it tomorrow!

Johannesburg is turning into a mini-downtown-Lagos. Hundreds of hijacked buildings in the city centre pose a life-threatening risk to thousands of people. Large parts of the city have been without water for weeks, while others have no electricity.

But a receptionist, a tollbooth operator and someone with only a Grade 11 education have just been appointed to the council that manages municipal properties worth R9 billion, all members of the ANC ward of the mayoral committee economic development member, Nomoya Mnisi.

The alleged mayor of the city, Kabelo Gwamanda of the tiny Al-Jamah-ah party, doesn't show up for an emergency meeting on the water crisis, and the national minister must stand in for him.

The Gupta puppet, Weekend Special Des van Rooyen, has just been appointed to the board of the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller.

Pick up the second fucking cellphone, Cyril, call Premier Panyaza Lesufi, Gauteng's ANC leader, and tell him he needs to do something about all this before the sun sets tonight.

Then pick up the third cellphone and call the minister of communication, responsible for the post office, and the minister of social development, and tell them that if all the elderly and needy people haven't received their social grants before sunset, they're fired.

These are just examples from the last few days.

Ramaphosa's “long game" to get rid of the Zuma crew was a really looong game, but it's over now. Ace Magashule and Carl Niehaus have been kicked out of the ANC and the last RET loudmouth, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, has just been removed as public protector.

What internal ANC problems will Ramaphosa now blame for his lack of action? Gwede and the coal brigade? Or is Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma still an RET sleeper in the cabinet?

Former DA leader Tony Leon pointed out in a column in Business Day last week that more than 1,000 people have been prosecuted as a result of the attack on the US Capitol on January 6 2021, with 445 already sentenced and 58 ringleaders sent to prison for long periods.

The instigator, Donald Trump, is being prosecuted in four different courts for his role in this drama and the campaigns surrounding it.

The instigator of the devastating “Zuma riots" in KwaZulu-Natal and elsewhere six months after the Capitol attack, which left 350 people dead and caused billions of rand in damage, Jacob Zuma, the Induna of State Capture, posed as an elder statesman this week when he lectured parliament on land reform. 

Only the dude who loaded plundered Woolworths groceries into the back of his Mercedes has been successfully prosecuted. 

Leon quotes Ramaphosa, who said after the looting and arson that it was “nothing less than a deliberate, coordinated and well-planned attack on our democracy… intended to cripple the economy… or even dislodge the democratic state". Here was his promise: “We are going after them; we have identified a good number of them."

Dololo. Zilch.

Leon's point is that this lack of action undermines the primary pillar of our democracy, the rule of law.

How can Ramaphosa not understand this?

Pick up your fucking cellphone and do something, Mr President. We will donate airtime if you need it

♦ VWB ♦

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