ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa’s choice of running mate has received mixed reviews. Political pundits have peddled the idea that this decision isn’t expedient, that Naledi Pandor won’t excite the base of the CR2017 campaign, that she doesn’t bring anything to the party.
But perhaps polished political expediency isn’t what we should be looking for in a presidential candidate? Should the deputy president find himself occupying the highest office in the land, the task of putting SA back on the right track will require a team of qualified and experienced leaders. In addition, attracting international investment and restoring the private sector’s faith in our political leadership will be vital. Ramaphosa not only has to win the ANC leadership, but a general election too. This will require a radical rebranding of the ANC.
Pandor has on numerous occasions put down opposition parties with a sharp intellect and skilful debate. She has done so without falling back on the cheap chirps and carefully crafted soundbites so often relied on by politicians. Pandor will be able to provide a degree of decorum and decency to our political discourse. The process of rectifying the county will require serious and substantial debate on policy, and to win such a debate with Pandor, the opposition will have to seriously raise their game.
Overall, we should be applauding this choice, made by a candidate who chooses substance over soundbites, experience over expediency and credibility over charisma. What we need to get out of this crisis is courage and leadership; this choice is certainly one that displays these virtues.
Nick Farrell Cape Town