South Africa: Ramaphosa the 'Party Man' May Still Pack a Reform, or Two

analysis

What does President Cyril Ramaphosa's testimony at the Zondo Commission reveal about his future conduct as president, and what could that mean for South Africa?

If, as President Cyril Ramaphosa's testimony at the Zondo Commission last week, appears to indicate, Ramaphosa may at times, or all the time, choose the ANC over the country, what does that mean for the reform process that is so crucial for South Africa right now?

While the president's stance appears to imply that reform is impossible, that is not necessarily the case. It may, however, show the president's understanding of what the ANC often calls "the balance of forces".

For many years, Ramaphosa has been careful in his public pronouncements. When he was deputy president under Jacob Zuma he was often mindful that he needed to quote Zuma and praise his contributions. Before then, he did not give much insight into his views on the matters of the day.

This led to intense speculation about who Ramaphosa really was. Was he the unionist who came to public prominence through his role in the creation of the National Union of Mineworkers, and then Cosatu? Was he the skilled negotiator who...

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