Opinion

So far so good, but Cyril needs an economic plan

26 May 2019 - 00:04

So when is it precisely that President Cyril Ramaphosa gets recalled from office? When is it that Ace Magashule engineers a coup inside the ANC and has the party's national executive eating out of his hand?
It's astonishing how all those people who absolutely knew how this was going to play out have, post-election, vanished into thin air.
I caught a brief whiff of one of them, a newspaper columnist, tweeting on Thursday that Ramaphosa had offered the EFF places in his government. When asked for a source, he vanished too. Cowards all.
Ramaphosa would not be that stupid. Not now. Putting the EFF into his government would be the end of investment. In fact, the only party actually offering the EFF executive jobs in (local) government is the DA, desperate not to lose its mayors in Johannesburg and Pretoria but unable to deal with EFF demands that they "share power" given that the EFF has tacitly supported DA administrations in both cities since 2016.
DA councillors in both cities were quietly told last week they would have to expect EFF members to take up executive roles. That is how desperate the DA is to keep its mayors in place.
And isn't it just pure luck that Malusi Gigaba, Nomvula Mokonyane and DD Mabuza have not taken up their seats in parliament, from where they would undermine the good done by Ramaphosa from the word go?
Where is the "fight back" going? Who is leading it? Quickly, someone, think up a conspiracy theory so we can all be terrified again.
Ramaphosa may even name Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as deputy president today or tomorrow. That would get the trolls out again, but the fact is she has more political heft and experience than either of her rivals for the job, Lindiwe Sisulu and Naledi Pandor. She's damaged obviously, by her association with the Zuma faction, but it might not be fatal. She would be a solid deputy and keep Ramaphosa a lot safer in the party than DD Mabuza would have.
We will soon know how things stand but, meanwhile, the good news keeps on coming. New National Prosecuting Authority head Shamila Batohi introduced the NPA's first investigating director to the public on Friday. Check out chapter seven of the NPA Act to see how powerful Hermione Cronje is going to be.
"Our case selection criteria will ensure that we address those who planned, orchestrated or instigated the corruption of the system and those who ultimately derived the benefit of the looting of state coffers, not only those foot soldiers who [were] merely implicated [in] their corrupt schemes," she said at her introduction.
So, not just the officials then? She also revealed the new directorate had hired Geoff Budlender, one of the country's leading counsel, and former Scorpions operations chief Thanda Mngwengwe to help select and develop cases. If I were Ace I'd get the hell out of the country.
Ramaphosa is having a purple patch. His delicate position in the party is still not sorted but it would be hard to argue that he is weaker now than a month ago. To the sceptics, I would say never mind. Something is bound to go wrong at some stage.
My constant worry for him is that having won the elections and having held on to Gauteng, just, he still has no overarching economic plan to get this country working again and to create jobs. That's not necessarily his fault. No-one has a plan. Least of all the opposition.The DA is in all kinds of trouble, as the letter above this column reveals. That was obviously written before councillors were told that they would have to make way for EFF executives if they wanted to keep their mayors.And that's assuming the EFF accepts that. It's a mess and in the middle of it, the mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, is threatening to sue me for libel and defamation unless I retract and apologise for saying here last week that he had allowed the EFF to influence tenders and appointments.He has misconstrued this as me accusing him of corruption. I'm afraid I can't retract or apologise, but maybe I can help by making it clear that I do not regard Mashaba as dishonest or corrupt. I think, though, that his party's, and his (see the revealing letter above) disposition to toy with the EFF is naïve and destructive to both party and politician. The chickens are coming home to roost.The EFF wants either Pretoria or Johannesburg from the DA. The DA wants to keep both. There will be a price to pay...

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