PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa’s first 100 days in office have resulted in no change for the country. That is the view of Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane who described the time as ‘underwhelming’.
“Indeed, his first 100 days have been underwhelming, as South Africans have rightfully expected much for from the President. We remain stuck in a jobs crisis, while our country is not safe from crime, and our politicians continue to commit acts of corruption and nepotism. All while living conditions of South Africans have not changed. Tax is up, jobs are dying, petrol is increasing, and food is becoming unaffordable,” he said.
“President Ramaphosa is governing on a fragile, compromised mandate, and therefore will never be able to effect total change that will turn our nation around, eradicate corruption, create millions of jobs, make our country safe, and fix our broken education system.”
Maimane added that the election of Ramaphosa as President of the Republic of South African on 15 February 2018 was predictably met by a wave of optimism and anticipation not witnessed in the country for the better part of a decade.
He said Many believed – and still do believe – that the election of Ramaphosa as President was the seminal moment in turning around the fortunes of the country and putting us back on track to becoming a leading light in the region, on the continent, and in the developing world.
“At the time of his election, South Africa was in a state of political and institutional turmoil. State capture, pervasive and unyielding corruption, nepotism and patronage, an economy on life support and in “junk status”, record high levels of unemployment, increasing poverty reaching unsustainable levels, a basic education system failing our youth, and several broken institutions of state and State-Owned Entities (SOEs) was the status quo. It is these fundamental issues which President Ramaphosa is expected to address and do so thoroughly and timorously,” he said.
Maimane attributed his lackluster performance on the ruling party’s top six being divided. He said that has resulted in many of the political decisions that influence government being reduced to a tussle between two factions within the ruling party.
“This is witnessed in what is unfolding in the North West Province. Looting, violence and destruction of property has plagued the streets of the North West – particularly the city of Mahikeng – as different factions of the ANC fight each other for power in the party and in government. This has seen Ramaphosa use his executive power, through Section 100 of the Constitution, to try and resolve internal political strife within the ANC by placing the province under administration. We must condemn this move and call it out for what it is. Ramaphosa cannot use the state for internal political ends – we saw this under Jacob Zuma and will oppose it at every juncture,” he said.
“In addition to the North West, at least three other provinces are falling apart – namely the Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. Different factions within these provinces are taking each to court to challenge the validity of Provincial Executive Committees (PECs), and decisions taken by the ANC provincially. This has hamstrung these provincial governments. In KwaZulu-Natal, political killings are on the rise as ANC factions fight each other for control of resources and access to patronage networks. This has a direct effect on governance in those provinces and because of ANC infighting, the people suffer. President Ramaphosa is presiding over a disintegrating ANC, and our governments are feeling its negative effects,” he added.
Maimane said the past 100 days have shown little or no evidence of Ramaphosa tackling corruption head on. He said his actions have been scant, and he has left much to be wanting.
Maimane maintained that his appointment of Arthur Fraser as National Commissioner of Correctional Services is a move from the Jacob Zuma playbook, where questionable and compromised individuals are reshuffled and rehired, instead of fired.
“We have approached the courts to have this decision reviewed and set aside, and we urge the President to not waste time and to reverse his decision to rehire Fraser following the allegations against him during his time employed at the State Security Agency (SSA). For the President to stamp his mark and be taken seriously when it comes to corruption, he needs to ensure the independence of the NPA by immediately appointing a National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) with the ability to restore the integrity of the NPA,” he said.
Maimane continued to say Ramaphosa has worked overtime in trying to distinguish himself from Zuma and the ANC – as a savior of the nation and the man who has the will, the grit, and the integrity to turn our country’s fortunes around and see it prosper. However, Over the past 100 days, it has become clear that regardless of Ramaphosa’s intentions, he is a comprised President whose powers are greatly restrained by his political party, and by the individual and interest groups that got him elected.
“The cracks in ‘Ramaphoria’ are beginning to widen. Our country needs a fresh start and total change, that which President Cyril Ramaphosa cannot bring about. South Africa deserves better. Our vision is to see our nation become the united, prosperous and non-racial country we all desire. Where we champion a vibrant and growing economy that creates jobs, where those left behind are given opportunity, where our streets are safe and crime free, where our education system serves students and not SADTU, where the government serves the people and not politicians, and where corruption, nepotism and patronage are relegated to the pages of history,” he said.