South Africa: Noise in a Time of Realpolitik - Ramaphosa Grasps the Nettle


President's delivery of his closing statement at the ANC NEC lekgotla in front of journalists on Monday is almost unprecedented. It appears it was politics behind the move, but there may also be an important lesson about how some people will make much noise even if they don't actually have the political power to achieve their aims.

It is well known that probably the biggest threat to President Cyril Ramaphosa and his agenda lies within the ANC itself. These elements appear to find expression in the National Executive Committee (NEC), famously the body that voted to remove both Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma from the presidency. As a result of this, NEC meetings have attracted a fair amount of buzz before they begin. The events of the last few days, in which there was much noise ahead of an NEC meeting followed by almost nothing of importance, may be a significant lesson in how important it is to distinguish noise from real politics.

Last week, an impression was created that Ramaphosa was going to have to either fire Pravin Gordhan as Public Enterprises Minister, or move Eskom to the Energy Ministry. This was after the comment by Deputy President David...

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