Editorial | Pressure mounts for Ramaphosa’s address
On Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa will stand in parliament to account to South Africans for what his government has done to drive growth and development in the country.
The mood will notably differ from the last time he addressed the nation a year ago, shortly after having Jacob Zuma removed from power. This time, pressure is mounting from all sides.
In this election year Ramaphosa will also be particularly mindful of the expectation to demonstrate that, under him, the ANC has made significant strides to claw back from the decay that increasingly characterised Zuma’s tenure.
To be fair, indeed there are signs that in the last year some work has been done to clean up the mess including, crucially, the appointment of a new NPA boss who took office earlier in February.
Ramaphosa has also been at the forefront of a crucial global message that South Africa is indeed open for business. His success in this regard must, hopefully, soon be felt by the change in life circumstances for ordinary citizens desperate for work.
On Thursday, however, the president will also be haunted by ghosts of our re cent past, which are likely to weaken his message, especially to detractors.
Uppermost in the minds of many are the bombshell allegations that tumbled out of the Bosasa closet recently, tainting not only his ANC presidential campaign, but many powerful figures in the ANC, like Gwede Mantashe, who are part of his inner most circle.
To deliver a credible message, Ramaphosa must give an honest reflection of the challenges that confront our nation and he must demonstrate that his administration has a concrete plan, capacity and political will to address these.
Still, that may be the easier part. The bigger challenge will be to convince a rightfully sceptical public that he can indeed deal with those in his party, including his close allies, who are implicated in impropriety, even if this means being politically vulnerable in the ANC...