South Africa: Ramaphosa Draws the Sword On the Enemy Within

President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses ANC supporters at the governing party’s election manifesto launch at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium on 12 January 2019.
analysis

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa lays down the law to civil servants for poor service and for doing business with the state -- but can he stare down the big men of the civil service unions?

By 11 am on Saturday, 12 January, the gates at the Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban closed. Inside, more than 80,000 people packed the stadium - the full quota of visitors it can hold. People occupied seating all the way to the nosebleed seats at the top and then stood in rings around those -- creating a sea of yellow T-shirts splashed with the smiling face of ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa.

Former president Jacob Zuma received much louder applause than his successor when he walked into the stadium. Durban being his home territory, Zuma forced the party into a détente with him by going on the offensive, using a cheeky Twitter feed in the weeks leading up to the party's manifesto launch.

For this, he received a seat at all the high tables laid on by the ANC as it launched its 2019 election campaign in the province where it has the highest number of members. But he didn't speak at any big event.

The...

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