Ramaphosa's delicate dance, plus 5 highlights from 'Vrye Weekblad'

Here's what's hot in the latest edition of the Afrikaans digital weekly

14 August 2020 - 07:36 By TimesLIVE
President Cyril Ramaphosa walks a delicate tightrope in trying to retain control and order in the ANC amid the sparring involving internal rivalries and alliances.
President Cyril Ramaphosa walks a delicate tightrope in trying to retain control and order in the ANC amid the sparring involving internal rivalries and alliances.
Image: GCIS

There will always be those who call President Cyril Ramaphosa's impossible choices the manifestation of the battle between two factions in the ANC. But the political landscape is far more complicated than that.

The idea that there are only two factions in the ANC is based on the illusion that the public spectacle playing out in Luthuli House is a matter of good vs evil, Zuma loyalists vs the Ramaphosa faction, or the corrupt vs those who want clean governance. 

If that was the case, Ramaphosa would simply have to tackle his opponents head-on. The ANC that Ramaphosa has to manage, is a far more complex beast, though. Even if Ace Magashule and the Guptas' friends are prosecuted, it won't make Ramaphosa's life easier. 

The ANC does not consist of two factions but is a complexly woven mix of unsteady alliances between power, violence and patronage.   

Read more about our politics, our battle against Covid-19, and more news and analysis in this week's edition of Afrikaans digital weekly Vrye Weekblad.


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When Ramaphosa is considering his options, Ace Magashule is thus not the main predator he has to consider. Despite Magashule's opportunistic plundering of provincial budgets, there is no indication that he is a factor in rural power politics like David Mabuza is. He is rather the puppet who keeps the tills open for the cadres who need to keep the money rolling into Luthuli House. But the fact that the ANC headquarters has been struggling to pay salaries says a lot about his success as SG.

The hysterical voices calling for Ramaphosa to grow a backbone are ironic. If he had shown “backbone” while he was deputy president we would have had Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma or even David Mabuza as president. If he showed backbone now and took the fight to the provincial executive committees of the ANC NEC or parts of his cabinet, chances are that he would not survive a leadership challenge in two years. And if he is dragged under by power politics, it won't be because of factions. 

Read the full article in this week's Vrye Weekblad


Must-read articles in this week's Vrye Weekblad

BREATH OF FRESH AIR | Alan Winde is not the kind of politician who will tell the people only what they want to hear. He is more like the CEO of Western Cape Inc. And he deserves a pat on the back for his handling of the Covid-19 crisis in the province. 

FREE TO READ – Covid: WE HAVE A MARATHON AHEAD | There is good news about the Covid-19 numbers in SA: it seems we have reached the peak. But experts say we should not let our guard down. 

CAN WE TRUST THE TRUST? | The Ingonyama Trust owns about 30% of land in KZN. The trust, and the issue of land ownership, remains controversial. 

HOW DID DENEL GET INTO THIS MESS? | Denel is in the labour court next week for not being able to pay staff. Even the CEO who was meant to save it has thrown in the towel. We look at how badly things went wrong at SA's aerospace and military technology conglomerate.

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