Fingers have been pointing at Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa as the best person to be SA president, but the likes of Ongama Mtimka, a lecturer and PhD candidate, believe that his qualities are not just enough to get him there.
Ramaphosa confirmed his readiness become the next president if the people vote him in. He said he has already secured the endorsement of the South African Congress of Trade Unions (Cosatu).
But, in a long piece published on theconversation, Mtimka said though the deputy president has all it takes to lead the country, he still needs a restoration and renewal narrative to convince factions of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
He said he’ll need to show he has a plan to rebuild the party and inspire its cadres sitting on the sidelines to join in his renewal efforts.
“If successful, he will need to switch immediately to election campaigning mode. The country goes to the polls in 2019 and he will have to do everything in his powers to salvage the former liberation movement’s declining electoral support.
“For South Africans at large, he will need to show how the ANC as a brand can reclaim its sentimental and inspirational traits to warrant their trust.”
The analyst further noted that though the task to reorganize the party seems a little too difficult to do following the extent of damage done since Zuma’s rise to power, Ramaphosa would scale through as he has faced seemingly insurmountable tasks of building organisations in challenging times before.
“The fact that Ramaphosa was able to build a union in a mining industry fraught with ethnic politics, worker fragmentation and a history of state-sanctioned exploitation attests to his organisation building capabilities. This is especially so considering that he had never worked on the mines himself.”
Ramaphosa has the leadership experience to salvage the ANC and become a great president with a wide range of skills. He has the potential to restore hope at the top of the ANC following a period of mediocrity and scandal.
However, Ongama Mtimka said while he has a chance in convincing ANC members of his potential, the broader South African public will be even harder to convince. Firstly, as a key player at Lonmin, Cyril Ramaphosa is seen as having failed to improve the working conditions of the mineworkers he fought for in the 1980s.
He said Ramaphosa’s relationship with Zuma, whom he has served as deputy president, has led to some awkward questions. Until last year, he appeared to be complacent – or actively defended Zuma even as the president became more deeply embroiled in alleged corruption scandals. This silence was evident even when Zuma was accused of violating the constitution Ramaphosa was party to creating.
It may be that Cyril Ramaphosa has the restoration and renewal narrative – as well as the organizational building skills and tenacity – to turn his own fate and that of the ANC around, but it’s going to be a ‘long walk’ as he put it. Time will tell, Mtimka concluded.