Peter Bruce’s Pollyanna piece begs a response (For the sake of the country, stand with the ANC’s principled people, April 11). Bruce’s argument still misguidedly peddles the schtick that although there is much wrong with the ANC, South Africans should still go out and vote for them as President Cyril Ramaphosa can put things right.

After months of sycophantic cheer-leading for Ramaphosa, Bruce was at least finally forced to concede that Ramaphosa was weak, complicit, dithered and stood by as the country was looted. Despite this, Bruce now doubles down on his argument and says South Africans must turn a blind eye to this as Ramaphosa was merely “playing the long game”.

He ices his argument with the view that Ramaphosa is the only person who can fix things in SA.

The Bruce doctrine, however, is littered with flaws bigger than a Bosasa bribe. How can South Africans vote for a party and president who, as even Bruce admits, stood idly by observing the worst excesses of the Zuma years? Trillions were wiped from our economy through state capture, Nkandla and the Guptas. Our state-owned entities (SOEs) were reduced to ATMs for politically connected elites, yet Ramaphosa simply looked the other way.

Our GDP slid as power blackouts, poor policies and government regulations attacked our fragile economy, yet Ramaphosa looked the other way. Zuma hollowed out and castrated the justice system, leaving it ineffective and impotent, yet Ramaphosa looked the other way. Unemployment soared as mismanagement, corruption and incompetence slowly took over government. Again, Ramaphosa looked the other way.

How can South Africans trust a president who has continually looked the other away, squandered every opportunity he had to do something, and who did nothing but act as the handmaiden of the Zuma years that have hamstrung and abused our country, and landed us in a very serious situation?

You never reward a party that is corrupt, has governed badly and has caused so much suffering and pain for the people of SA

Bruce’s other argument, that Ramaphosa is now in charge of his party, is completely out of tune with reality. It shows how little he knows. For those who may not yet have woken to the reality, here is the truth Bruce is not telling you: Ramaphosa may be in office, but he is certainly not in power. The secretary-general, Ace Magashule, is in charge of the faction that carries the majority of power in the party and on the ANC lists.

This is also why Ramaphosa has been forced to do a volte-face on his announcements on the size of the civil service, the Eskom restructuring, and the SA Reserve Bank. The truth is that within the ANC, Ramaphosa has been reduced to the proverbial eunuch in a brothel, all of the desire but none of the ability.

The ANC’s parliamentary list is full to the brim with the rogues who were the architects and implementers of state capture. Returning to infect the parliamentary benches on May 9 will be the likes of Bathabile Dlamini, Nomvula Mokonyane, Malusi Gigaba, Tina Joemat-Pettersson and Mosebenzi Zwane, to name but a few. It should fill the stomach with dread, yet it is this very list of leeches that Bruce wants citizens to cast their vote for.

Bruce the beatifier

In his rush to beatify Ramaphosa, Bruce is also misleading voters. The vote on the ballot is not for a person but for a party — that is an indisputable fact of our political system. When you vote for the ANC you are not voting for Ramaphosa, but for the same party and the same people that have implemented state capture, steered our economy onto the rocks and pushed 10-million of our citizens into the unemployment line.

There is no united ANC party that is backing and giving Ramaphosa its complete support. Instead, the party is fractious, with even former president Kgalema Motlanthe stating that the ANC is more divided now than ever. With this division, and if the trend of the last three ANC presidents is followed, it is unlikely that Ramaphosa will see out his full term as president.

If he is ousted by the Zuma-Magashule-Mabuza faction, the very majority Bruce is encouraging us to give the ANC will terrifyingly be at the full disposal of this faction. Those who are gullible enough to fall into the Bruce trap could well find their own votes used against them by the very capturists they naively thought they were opposing.

Voting to give the ANC a bigger majority is the very antithesis of democratic accountability. You never reward a party that is corrupt, has governed badly and has caused so much suffering and pain for the people of SA.

The DA is the only party that offers a credible alternative government. The DA has experience in governing cleanly and accountably at provincial level. We have a solid policy offering and well-developed checks and balances. The DA delivers services, houses and jobs where it governs.

The very best gift South Africans can give Ramaphosa and the country on May 8 is a stronger, bigger and growing DA at the rational cantre of our politics. A solid, reliable partner for growth to make a significant difference, give hope, and change the course of this beautiful country for the better.

• Steenhuisen is DA parliamentary chief whip.