Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: REUTERS
Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: REUTERS

My attitude since President Cyril Ramaphosa started his term in office has been one of careful optimism, my view being that he is walking his own “long road”, like former president Nelson Mandela although in a sense it is even more challenging.

People who did not expect Ramaphosa to be facing the sort of challenges he is facing now were either ill-informed or politically naive. The tentacles of state capture clearly penetrated extremely deeply, and confidence is at rock bottom. Realistic observers accordingly predicted that it could get worse before getting better.

Unfortunately, there are political opportunists, also within the official opposition, trying to score cheap political points from the problems created by the pro-Zuma faction that is now desperately fighting for political survival. They lose sight of the fact that civil society, the courts, the opposition and good elements within the ANC stood together to get rid of Jacob Zuma. Without that turning point we would have been far worse off.

Now, more than before, it is essential that this “informal coalition” of interest groups stands together to strengthen the president’s hand against the likes of Ace Magashule and other Zuma sympathisers who are sowing discord within the ANC. Opposition entails much more than simply opposing and scoring points, especially in challenging times, and sadly few opposition politicians seem to understand that. In our national interest we now need a type of informal “government of national unity”, in a sense like we had after 1994. It is not a time for shortsighted political opportunism.

One would have expected the official opposition to rather reach out to Ramaphosa in search of common ground than to try to score political points on the platform of the public protector, headed by a Zuma appointee and currently very controversial.

The reality is that in the short term there is no viable alternative to the ANC. Ramaphosa must be allowed to take us forward in a stable manner so SA can recover from the looting that took place under Zuma.

Dawie Jacobs