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by Mbuso Mazibuko, at 07:42 am, February 12, 2018, Opinion

The difference between South African president Zuma and deputy Ramaphosa

Deputy South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (L) and embattled President Jacob Zuma

In the ANC’s elective conference Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa stated that those who are guilty of corruption should be brought to task, regardless of their position (hint hint). Corruption in politics is nothing new, in many states the two are synonymous – think of something being described as ‘political’ and you immediately associate that with some kind of string pulling, designed to serve oneself as opposed to working for the public good.

President Jacob Zuma seems to feel that the extent of corruption in Africa is not as bad as what is perceived or what reports suggest, while Ramaphosa calls it a ‘mammoth task’ to deal with South Africa. So which one is it?

The ANC has been split into two, there has been an intra-party war going on and Zuma is losing. Ramaphosa has staked his claim and there’s little Zuma can do about it. The Head of the ANC is certain that Zuma is headed for the door, probably because he has pushed him towards it. He’s not the only one, as DA leader Mmusi Maimane handed in a request to have the state of the nation address (which was scheduled to be on Thursday 8 February) be postponed until Zuma is ‘removed from office and Parliament is afforded an opportunity to elect a new President’.

Where Zuma loses to Ramaphosa by default is with his damaged reputation and apparent complacency. The Vice-President, like others looking to take over the mantle in next year’s elections, is initiating change while Zuma is too busy preparing for his defence.

In the midst of Cape Town’s water crises, Ramaphosa has stepped up and the President is nowhere near it. Zuma’s defenders such as ANC Deputy Secretary-General, Jessie Duarte, have no argument that can justify his case against being indicted (for fraud and corruption) or to convince the public that his continued reign is of any good use to them and not just himself.

What Ramaphosa’s got going for him is his business acumen and can-do attitude. The former will attract potential investors as well as assuring them of a stable political climate (which South Africa needs right now), while the latter gets him a majority vote next year.

On top of losing the trust of the people, Zuma is distracted and on the defensive with everything to lose, while Ramaphosa is focused and on the offensive with everything to gain. That’s the difference.

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