EDITORIAL | Test of Ramaphosa’s promises lies ahead
President Cyril Ramaphosa is right about one thing – South Africans are sick and tired of corruption.
Even more importantly, we are deeply aggrieved that many of those alleged to have looted public money are yet to be held accountable criminally.
Delivering his speech at the ANC’s final rally ahead of Wednesday’s election, Ramaphosa was emphatic in his promise to fight all forms of graft in the state. “We will not submit and we will not retreat,” he said.
“We will fight with every means at our disposal to ensure that those who occupy positions of authority serve only the public interest and our people – not their own pockets and not themselves”.
It would perhaps be unfair not to acknowledge that Ramaphosa has done some significant work, since taking over the presidency, to break down the state capture stronghold of the Zuma years.
The various commissions of inquiry into state capture projects have exposed to some degree the depth of the crisis and laid a legal foundation for looters to be charged.
Secondly, the firing of some rogue personalities from state leadership positions and the hiring of a credible national prosecuting boss, Shamila Batohi, must be welcomed.
However, a lot more needs to be done to ensure that ultimately those who stole from the poor are jailed.
It is likely that the ANC will retain power after Wednesday’s election, if current prediction polls are to be believed.
Ramaphosa is mindful of the fierce battle that lies ahead thereafter, from those within his party who are hell-bent on getting away with thieving.
He may indeed have demonstrated some commitment to clean up the rot of the last decade.
However, his resolve and political capital will be demonstrated by the choice of leaders he places in cabinet, should the ANC come out victorious this week.
It will further be demonstrated by whether his administration can create the kind of environment where our law enforcement machinery is able to act swiftly to jail those criminals who ought to be in prison.
Only when this happens will Ramaphosa’s promise of action truly hold meaning.