In a few days the African National Congress will assemble at Nasrec to mark its 54th Elective Conference where its new leadership will be elected. According to current nominations Ramaphosa the one with the broad smile, the former unionist shaped by white monopoly interest since 1978 is having an edge over his opponent Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. This conference is historic for it’s the first time in the 105 years of the ANC’s existence that a woman candidate is on the ballot paper as a presidential candidate. We all anticipate it will be a close contest that will go down to the wire.
The ANC is about to make choice between one who was breastfed by the Clive Menell’s and Harry Oppenheimers of Apartheid South Africa and one who is detested for having challenged Johan Rupert and others. Ramaphosa is heralded by some for his role in establishing the first apartheid accepted black union assisted with money from the Urban Foundation who also paid for his school fees. On the one hand Dlamini Zuma despite her long track record of uncompromised leadership is portrayed by the media as captured when Ramaphosa the truly captured one is considered the natural and right choice for ANC and SA leadership.
Ramaphosa is celebrated as the master negotiator, he is easily talked about as the one that gave South Africa its egalitarian constitution that underscores a constitutional democracy frame. Ramaphosa the attorney by profession yet for others a questionable character in both political and ideological standings has always known how to keep his friends apart. He always knew how to keep himself the centre of the deal whatever the deal may be. Irrespective if the deal was about leading the negotiating team at the pre-dawn of democracy or about leading SA as deputy to Mandela.
Ramaphosa the enigma, as he boasts to Anthony Butler, ‘I am an enigma’. He revels in the fact that he is difficult to understand, clearly celebrating the mystery of who he is. The ANC is about to consider a former trade unionist, the one breastfed by colonial and apartheid South Africa until billionaire status defines him as the signpost of protecting apartheid beneficiaries to lead it beyond 2017.
What then is the hope that the goals of the ANC can be attained its policies implemented and true economic liberation for the masses realised by Ramaphosa?
I have earlier suggested the undeniable reality of South Africa is that it needs a conscious interruption in the ownership, management and control of its economy which has from apartheid served the interest of a glorified white identity. If we had any hope that radical economic transformation will be a number one focus, such is dashed if the deal maker emerges since he long spoke in doublespeak of confusion on the subject. Unfortunately Ramaphosa is and remains a direct product of white wealth, that nurtured him for the last 40 years and he cannot be the hope for the attaining of economic freedom for the masses.
He is the one who told us white monopoly capital and radical economic transformation are both inventions of a public relations company. Ramaphosa who made ‘state capture’ his mantra in his attempt to summit ANC high office failed to defend the ANC policy of RET when Johan Rupert declared it nothing but a recipe for looting. Cyril the one who would break with ANC presidential candidacy culture and announce his slate as the winning team.
Perhaps we must accord him the right title: ‘The man of many deals’. He tells us he has a new deal for South Africa. In attempt of tracing back the enigma of deals we see him emerging as the chief negotiator of the ANC in a rather clandestine way, he attained this at a time when Mandela, Mbeki and Zuma were sent out of the country. This deal however was not the first, his first possible deal may have been struck in 1978. In the aftermath of the 76 student uprise and students fleeing SA under attack of the brutality apartheid security police Ramaphosa found favour from those who owned the Urban Foundation to serve on the board of the Urban Foundation, it remains a discrepancy that he is said to have only met Oppenheimer in 1986, as Mckenzie’s latest book “Kill Zuma by any Means” shows. From this relationship with Urban Foundation we may deduce his first deal then was with those who captured South Africa’s land and wealth at the expense of the poor.
His second deal potentially was to capture the mine workers, an important component of what constitutes SA business. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) of which he became a founder leader, was established again not without the assistance of the Urban Foundation’s resources. When COSATU tells us today that we must trust him because he gave up his lucrative legal career to start NUM which grew into the biggest organised labour mining formation under apartheid it’s not without having to acknowledge its hero was always close to capital and its influence tangible in interest as defined by the white identity of colonial and apartheid rule.
There are those who contend Ramaphosa’s next deal was to become the chief negotiator of the ANC. As alluded to earlier he attained this in a rather clandestine way at a time when Mandela, Mbeki and Zuma were outside SA sent on missions. The deal that did not work for him came about when he was denied becoming Mandela’s deputy. He angrily left the political scene for his self imposed exile where he now was able to make the economic deals that resulted in him becoming the billionaire. Ramaphosa was so angry that he boycotted Mandela’s inauguration, arguably the most historic moment in our life time.
The man of many deals today on the eve of the ANC’s 54th elective conference promises a new deal, that can make the economy grow by 4%. A new deal not canvassed in any official ANC structure or space but advocated by the enigma who wants to lead the ANC, no not really the ANC but South Africa.
How different will the new deal be from the old deal that he negotiated us into? How will this new deal give effect to the much needed ANC policy of radical economic transformation? How will this new deal secure the true economic change South Africa desperately needs? Naturally we must ask who sits behind this new deal, who is central to this deal? Who really stands to benefit from the Ramaphosa new deal, when it was always about the interest of Ramaphosa and those of white monopoly capital who made him from the start.
We saw his announcing of the deal in Soweto was attended by the Steven Koseff’s of this world. It’s defended by Pravin Gordhan who is still fighting to be restored as South Africa’s minister of finance since his second firing end of March 2017. In a sense the focus is to get South Africa back to a pre Nene firing time because for those who defend this new deal, that was when South Africa lived in economic harmony. To those who confuse us to get back to a time before the Nene firing we say, this economy never worked for the masses, there was a never a time when it benefitted the masses to pretend it did is ta weak attempt at deceiving the masses who still long to be emancipated economically.
Can the ANC really trust this man to lead it beyond 2017, can it trust the man of many deals when his deals are always anchored in self interest in uphold of the enigma he claims to be? It is not strange that he is adored by those who made him, for he is less ANC but more the undeniable signpost of white monopoly capital. He spells no threat to white monopoly capital. Ramaphosa does not believe in radical economic transformation, he has never enjoined himself to this ANC policy. The ANC delegates must engage the enigma for who he is and look at his deals since 1978 and ask does he represent the opportunity for economic emancipation of the masses.
The ANC’s biggest concern on the eve of its conference should be what will happen when the man of many deals looses at Nasrec? We know the last time he lost, he left embittered and refused to attend Mandela’s inauguration. Will he this time be led out of the ANC by those who support him to start a new party since it has always been the intent of white interest to free SA from a majority rule party?