Jacob Zuma’s Resignation: Is Cyril Ramaphosa South Africa’s Saviour? -By Jeff Okoroafor

Filed under: Global Issues |

South Africa’s deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.


The true reason why Jacob Zuma resigned as South Africa’s president is yet to be determined. Although he has claimed that his decision was not borne out of fear of the motion of no confidence or impeachment put forward by the parliament. “No life should be lost in my name” he said in his TV broadcast. I must confess that I am very surprised to hear of his sudden resignation.

For a very long time the parliament was Jacob Zuma’s territory – at least in the imagination of Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters. Since becoming the leader of the ANC in 2007 and South Africa’s president in 2009, Jacob Zuma has actually controlled the parliament. He has been threatened with impeachment several times, a vote of no confidence call submitted countless times etc, in the end nothing happens – he always pompously emerge victorious to the angry faces of his ‘detractors’.

Jacob Zuma’s tenure has been marred by economic decline and multiple charges of graft that have undermined the image and legitimacy of the party that led South Africans to freedom in 1994. He constantly undermines the rule of law, debase South Africa’s democratic institutions, unable to rise above his own vindictiveness and compromise criminal justice system and law enforcement agencies. Zuma’s other sins ranges from pride to lust, to greed, to envy, to gluttony, to wrath and to sloth. During his eight years in office till now, President Jacob Zuma has confessed to some sins, but continues to commit many others. Is it a good thing that he has finally given the way for South Africa to blossom and progress in a more positive direction? I say yes. Is Cyril Ramaphosa, his vice who will automatically become the next president, South Africa’s saviour? I highly doubt.

Many South African analysts, local and foreign investors seem to have boundless faith in Cyril Ramaphosa, the elected leader of the African National Congress, South Africa’s ruling party. Everyone from trade unionists and journalists to currency traders celebrated his victory last year when he emerged leader of the party. Ramaphosa’s praise singers blithely assume that he will both win the presidency in 2019 and deal decisively with the ongoing crises that plague South Africa’s governing party and its government. But such a rosy outlook is silly, at least not with the known actors still in play in South Africa’s politics. Ramaphosa has an impressive CV no doubt, but will such curriculum vitae be able to change the sorry state of the party he has inherited? Will it be enough to redirect Africa’s collapsing structure and system? The Gupta family are still very much active in the scheme of play; Roy Moodley who had Jacob Zuma in his payroll for several months right after becoming President, never left the scene; McKinsey which was implicated in a massive irregular government contract still commands great respect.
The most central problem Ramaphosa will face as he takes the helm of affairs is that the ANC is so politically damaged that he might find himself becoming the first ANC leader to lose a general election since South Africa became a democracy in 1994. Next election is couple of months away, precious little time to reverse the organizational rot that set in during the Zuma years and to demonstrate to voters Ramaphosa’s willingness and ability to undo the current president’s ruinous legacy.

If Ramaphosa must succeed, he will need the overwhelming support of all South Africans and he must steer clear of the Gupta family coins, the Moodley appetizers and the McKinsey’s night calls.

May God be with South Africa.