President Cyril Ramaphosa has said he lies awake at night worrying about the country’s employment and electricity crises. He is visibly attempting to do something about the latter, although, in his defence, the two are related.
He has accepted that Eskom needs to be broken up, sought to defuse the risk its debt poses and vowed to tackle the energy transition without sacrificing the economy. And, in a rare moment of overruling a recalcitrant minister, he forced Gwede Mantashe in June to lift the cap on unlicensed energy projects to 100 megawatts.
Such boldness was missing in action a month later when orchestrated unrest put KwaZulu-Natal under siege. As national police commissioner Khehla Sitole ruminated this week, battles like these are lost or won in the first hours. Ramaphosa chose defeat when he retained Bheki Cele as police minister, and the mistake lives on in the latest crime statistics.
As in July, so in December, when the government had to recover from a dismal start on sourcing vaccines. Only 15-million people have been fully vaccinated, meaning we are hard-pressed to claim modest success.
Ramaphosa’s response to the third Covid-19 wave in the winter exposed his failure to ensure healthcare capacity was strengthened. Instead, back came the alcohol ban, though at a million and counting the country could not afford to lose one more job.
He should, in the meanwhile, have fired Zweli Mkhize without hesitation, and thought twice before tacitly allowing Jacob Zuma’s likely unlawful release on medical parole.
It undermined the president’s defence of the rule of law and showed him putting party before country in an election year. So did lifting restrictions to allow rallies. Ramaphosa, or rather we, will now pay the price with a new variant kicking off a fourth wave.
But the president governs like he campaigns, as if he floats above the failures of his party or cabinet. This is a myth and it is time we mark him down to a D.
|Take a bow. You are doing an excellent job.|
|Good, but room for improvement.|
|Get your act together.|
|Do yourself and the country a favour - resign.|
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