Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS
Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa is governing on a fragile, compromised mandate and might not be able to effect the change that SA needs to turn around, the DA says.

Ramaphosa reaches his first 100 days in office on Thursday, and DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the president’s tenure so far had been "underwhelming".

"South Africans have rightfully expected much more from the president," Maimane said.

"We remain stuck in a jobs crisis, while our country is not safe from crime and our politicians continue to commit acts of corruption and nepotism.

"Tax is up, jobs are scarce, petrol is increasing and food is becoming unaffordable."

Ramaphosa came to power in February following the reluctant resignation of Jacob Zuma.

Mmusi Maimane. Picture: SUPPLIED
Mmusi Maimane. Picture: SUPPLIED

The president’s performance to date will come under scrutiny on Wednesday during the Presidency’s budget debate in Parliament. Ramaphosa will reply on Thursday.

However, the DA has wasted little time in picking apart the president’s performance.

"Over the past 100 days, it has become clear that regardless of Ramaphosa’s intentions, he is a compromised president whose powers are greatly restrained by his political party and by the individual and interest groups that got him elected," said Maimane. The cracks in Ramaphoria were beginning to widen, he said.

Maimane conceded Ramaphosa had inherited one of the biggest cabinets in the world.

"The 35 ministers and 37 deputy ministers will – in salary earnings alone — cost our country R163.5m this year and R510.5m over the medium term. This excludes ministerial houses and vehicles, VIP protection, travel allowances, private offices and their staff contingents," Maimane said.

While Ramaphosa had committed to reducing the size and cost of the Cabinet and ridding it of those who were underperforming and were linked to corruption, the president had failed on both accounts, Maimane said.

If Ramaphosa was serious about revitalising the economy and job creation he should, among other measures, reverse the one percentage point value-added tax hike; upgrade the employment tax incentive to a full youth wage subsidy; and reverse the decision to cut the Competition Commission’s budget as the commission was crucial to reducing the concentration of the economy and allowing small businesses to flourish, said Maimane.

He should institute a review of labour legislation with a view to liberalising the labour market and making it easier to employ people; and reject the proposed amendment of section 25 of the Constitution to expropriate all land without compensation, which created uncertainty and volatility in the economy; and reconsider a blanket national minimum wage "which favours the employed at the expense of the unemployed and will cost at least 700,000 jobs, killing many small businesses".

Maimane said the evidence of Ramaphosa tackling corruption head-on had been scant.