Cyril Ramaphosa came to power promising a new dawn. But his announcement last Tuesday evening of the ANC’s decision to change the Constitution is a clear indication that he does not have the backbone to resist the populist temptation.

As many commentators have pointed out, Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to use the public broadcaster to make an ANC announcement in his capacity as party president was a gross violation of the independence of the public broadcaster. It was, to speak plainly, a return of aspects of the banana republic antics of Jacob Zuma.

And, as has also been pointed out by many commentators, the whole matter of the Constitution is just a red herring. The Constitution is no barrier to land reform. The reason why land reform hasn’t happened since 1994 has nothing to do with the Constitution. On the contrary, the failure with regard to land reform is solely a matter of a lack of political will on the question of land reform.

The forces around Jacob Zuma, including outright opportunists and people like Carl Niehaus and Andile Mngxitama, tried to blame the ANC’s failures on the Constitution to deflect popular anger away from the party, and because they wanted a more authoritarian alternative. If Ramaphosa had a backbone he would be honest about the ANC’s failures and commit to doing better going forward. Instead he has sacrificed his integrity by associating himself with Zuma’s dishonesty and opportunism.