19 March 2019

South Africa: Mr Ramaphosa, Meet Reality - ANC's Campaign-By-Train Backfires When Everyday Life Intervenes

analysis

It was supposed to be a simple ANC campaign stunt. President Cyril Ramaphosa would take a short train journey in Gauteng on Monday morning, allowing him to interact with regular commuters. But it didn't work out like that - and, in the process, revealed more about the current state of South Africa than could have been imagined.

"The president who got stuck on a train" was how the BBC tweeted an article reporting on President Cyril Ramaphosa's experience of South Africa's rail system on Monday.

What should have been a standard campaign event for the ANC became international news after Ramaphosa got a taste of the daily struggles of South African commuters.

"Come take a train ride with us," ANC elections head Fikile Mbalula had tweeted on Monday morning, ahead of the planned event which would see President Ramaphosa and other top officials join ordinary South Africans on their commute from Soshanguve to Tshwane.

The first sign that the trip might not proceed smoothly arrived when the departure of the Metrorail train in question from Mapobane station was delayed by over an hour. Thereafter, the 50-kilometre commute would take three further hours to complete due to delays.

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