And five reasons he may not be such a fabulous president:
- The M word
Ramaphosa was cleared by the Farlam Commission of complicity in the massacre of Lonmin’s miners at Marikana.
But as a Lonmin director and shareholder, Ramaphosa was not a transformative empowerment partner. The company remains an extractive miner in the colonial milieu as various revelations after Marikana have revealed.
Ramaphosa has apologised for his language in emails to the then mining minister Susan Shabangu, which pushed for tough action to end the strike and was interpreted as political pressure.
- Ramaphosa is a prince.
The deputy president is refined and elegant when this race may require a street fighter who can campaign. The ANC general secretary Gwede Mantashe has said that six leaders have stuck up their hands to be party president. Unless the other five are persuaded to stand down, it is going to be a tough race.
- Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
ANC leaders close to both Ramaphosa and the Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma are trying to get the leaders not to run against each other as it will damage both.
But reports suggest that Dlamini-Zuma will run. Dlamini-Zuma has impeccable ANC credentials to be the party’s first female candidate for the top job.
- August 2016
The local election of August was a bellwether poll in that it showed the ANC can be unseated. The party lost (or failed to lead coalitions) in vital cities including Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay. While pundits say the ANC is unlikely to lose its governing mantle by 2019, the certainty of high office is not as certain as it was a year ago.
- He is rich
South Africans are highly aspirational, love big brands, study further and dream of owning homes, nice cars and sending our children to good schools.
But the country has an odd and sneering relationship with big wealth.
Ramaphosa’s billions could be used as a stick to beat him on the stumps. Still, the working class, as arranged in the country’s biggest trade unions, has endorsed Ramaphosa’s presidency.