President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: BABA JIYANE/GCIS
President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: BABA JIYANE/GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa has said the Electoral Commission of SA’s (IEC’s) directive allowing the ANC to amend its candidate list for the upcoming municipal elections was “the right thing to do to deepen democracy”. When the leader of an effective one-party-state starts talking about deepening democracy, the voting public has every right to be skeptical.

Having listened to 18 months of testimony before the Zondo state capture commission, why should we assume the IEC has avoided state capture and maintained its impartiality? It’s been the victim of cadre deployment, just like every other organ of government, an iniquity Ramaphosa defended vigorously before the commission.

If Ramaphosa really wanted to “deepen democracy” he would have called another of his “fireside chats” and told the nation his party had messed up its candidate registrations. Moreover, he would have taken responsibility for the debacle. Then he would have refused any IEC second chances on the basis that legal precedent had already been set, and that such an interpretation of the Constitutional Court’s original judgment was creative fiction.

And, that if he accepted the IEC’s offer, its independence would be forever compromised and the elections condemned as unfair before voting had even taken place.  

Given the perilous state of our so-called democracy this would have been the right thing to do. But Ramaphosa did otherwise, and that tells the voters everything they need to know about the ANC’s commitment to democratic principles.

James Cunningham
Camps Bay

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