LETTER: Into the Ramaphosa era
President Cyril Ramaphosa embodies the best qualities of his predecessors
We are only now entering the Ramaphosa era.
The Mandela era was marked by the biggest need at the time, namely nation building. In the euphoria of freedom and Madiba magic there was business confidence and optimism among foreign investors. However, there was not enough emphasis on urgent socioeconomic issues and narrowing the poverty gap.
The Mbeki era was marked by a focus on the African identity expressed in his flagship African Renaissance. One of the biggest mistakes under his governance was the systematic ending of proven institutions like teachers training colleges and technical colleges. Nation building came to a standstill, and deteriorated under him.
The Zuma era became a nightmare for the country and the ANC. Corruption and state capture became endemic and he appointed his cronies to vital government institutions. Ramaphosa, Mandela’s choice as his successor, took over from Zuma in difficult circumstances and with Zuma’s cronies still entrenched in influential positions.
Fortunately for the ANC and SA, he embodies the best qualities of all his predecessors combined, and more. He has the patience, tact and strategic thinking of Mandela, the intellect and managerial skills of Mbeki and is as streetwise as Zuma. In addition he is in his own right a skilled negotiator, strategic manager, successful businessman and a farmer.
In a short period, Ramaphosa managed to restore enough confidence among ANC supporters and other South Africans after the devastating Zuma era to help the ANC obtain a comfortable majority in the elections. He saved his own party and is well equipped to save his country.
The ANC, opposition parties and SA as a whole would be well advised to consider the Ramaphosa presidency critically, but also constructively. Another window of opportunity has opened to take our country forward, to rekindle the Madiba magic and unite our people again.