TOM EATON: Now imagine Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's first 100 days ...
'Allow me to paint a counterfactual picture of what this week might have looked like if a handful of ANC delegates had tilted in the other direction and damned us to a very different present'
We start five months ago, as a beaming Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is congratulated by a sombre Cyril Ramaphosa. A moment later she is embraced by Jacob Zuma, grinning from ear to ear. She has just become the new president of the ANC. The rand slides from R14 to R18, but ANC Twitter dismisses this as the last gasp of reactionary capital, and Minister Nomvula Mokonyane reiterates that she and her comrades will pick up the currency no matter how far it falls.
The next morning, the Presidency announces that rumours of an early exit by Zuma were nothing but a malicious effort by the DA, EFF and the media to create division within the party. Zuma will complete his term and step down as planned in May 2019.
The only major change will be the redeployment of Comrade Ramaphosa, who has agreed that he will best serve the party as the ambassador to New Zealand. He will be replaced as deputy president by the beloved new leader of the glorious movement, Comrade Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. The rand goes to R20, and Julius Malema goes ballistic, vowing that he will not set foot in parliament while Jacob Zuma is in office.
On Saturday, Cyril Ramaphosa will have been in office for 100 days. On that day, a legion of politicians, economists, journalists and columnists will weigh his achievements against his shortcomings and tell us How He Is Doing. I will leave the hardcore political insights to my more qualified colleagues, but I suspect that two more or less opposed verdicts will emerge: that Ramaphosa is fatally hamstrung by a partially captured ANC and is doing too little, too slowly; and that he has done some subtle but strategic heavy lifting that will become the foundations of something much more impressive and progressive in the next few years.Either way, the opinion will be muted. Those who feel that he isn’t doing enough won’t call him a lame duck but they will certainly suggest that he is a swan with a serious limp. Those who are cautiously optimistic will hedge more than a senior executive at Steinhoff. There are probably good reasons for this generally hushed approach. It really is too early...