Ramaphosa faces his own ‘Ides of March’

There may be various ways to answer the question as there were in the assembly that decided the mortal fate of Julius Caesar in William Shakespeare’s tragedy, Julius Caesar.

Says Brutus: “… If then that friend demand why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer: Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.” And that is why Caesar must fall.

The foreboding words of death and hatred. As President Cyril Ramaphosa steps up the podium in Mangaung, Bloemfontein, today to deliver his January 8 statement, there is a section that, like Brutus, may be plotting the political demise of their president.

There is no question that Ramaphosa’s presidency is greatly undermined by a section popularly described as the radical economic transformation (RET) wing of the ANC.

The repugnant group is led by, among others, cabinet ministers in his cabinet, and includes more prominently |Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Lindiwe Sisulu.

Sisulu has been more vocal, openly challenging her president and pouring scorn at the judiciary.

With no sense of shame, Sisulu has described, erroneously we might add, our judges as “mentally colonised Africans who can be likened to “house negroes”, a demeaning phraseology, which Justice Raymond Zondo openly decried, demanding that she apologise. She never did.

It is also telling that even as the country embraces constitutionalism, Sisulu has shown no respect for the constitution.

In her own words she has asked, “what has the beautiful constitution done for the victim except as a palliative?”

In a nutshell, Sisulu is a chief apostle of the RET grouping and has not sought to be cagey about her association with its ideological thinking.

What is Ramaphosa going to do when the time comes to reshuffle the cabinet? Will he be so kind as to embrace even his sworn enemies, appoint them to the cabinet? We must warn Ramaphosa that to do so would be to dig his own grave.

If that were to be his approach, it would be a foolish move that is at odds with all rationality, and blind to the practical
realities of human life.

The ANC is in a difficult situation both internally and externally. Internally, there are factions, as we have sought to show in this editorial. Externally, South Africans are in droves losing confidence in its ability to run the country.

About three weeks ago at the Nasrec elective conference, there were moves to unseat Ramaphosa. He survived this political onslaught by the skin of his teeth.

Now that he has won the elective conference battle, the president has a duty not only to the ANC, but more to the nation to address, among other challenges, the worsening energy crisis.

Ramaphosa must stop looking over his shoulders.

He must act decisively; he must dismiss in his cabinet the many Brutus-like conspirators in his camp.

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