/ 19 December 2022

Cyril Ramaphosa (Grade E)

President Cyril Ramaphosa. File photo by GCIS


Key Goals

  1. Forge a new social compact: Failed
  2. Deliver on land reform goals: Failed
  3. Negotiate just energy transition: Progress
  4. Strengthen the National Prosecuting Authority: Progress
  5. Implement the Zondo commission recommendations: Progress


President Cyril Ramaphosa might be forgiven for thinking that his job gets worse with each passing year. Observers might be forgiven for pointing out that in 2022, more than ever, he was the author of his own woes.

Since June he has been surviving a financial scandal he may never fully surmount, while manoeuvring for re-election as ANC leader, and making limited progress on the promises of his renewal drive and State of the Nation address, without risking said re-election.

There is still no sign of the new social compact that formed the centrepiece of his February speech and land reform remains, mostly, a mirage. 

Ramaphosa is faring better on strengthening the National Prosecuting Authority, the Financial Intelligence Centre and the safety and security cluster overall with a budget allocation of R8.9 billion in the new year. 

He was on time in tabling a plan to implement the recommendations of the Zondo report but is still officially, and understandably, “applying his mind” to how to proceed against his allies implicated in the findings on state capture. 

Among those is the energy minister, Gwede Mantashe, who continues to be managed as a liability while the government tries to secure R1.5 trillion for a just transition plan. Here there is some progress, but it cannot offset the immediate, constant crisis of load-shedding where his cabinet did too little too late. Mantashe need not fear though. The favour he did Ramaphosa in ensuring MPs binned the Ngcobo report confirms his worth, nevermind his weakness for coal and Bosasa freebies. 

The new year will probably bring grey-listing by the Financial Action Task Force. Although the treasury is trying to get a key legislation across the line in a bid to avert this, the constitutionality of the anti-terrorism bill tabled by Police Minister Bheki Cele is in question, as is the country’s enforcement capacity.

Ramaphosa should have appointed a better police minister long ago, and thought twice about sheltering Arthur Fraser in state employment. He may have avoided a high court ruling deeming the suspension of the public protector retaliatory, had he not waited until she launched an investigation into the theft of forex from his farm. His failure to suspend the Western Cape judge president, John Hlophe for five months was an affront to the judiciary. But he prevaricates as a way of being while promising better to come. 

The problem is that few can still believe that if only he were not locked into the compromises the life and death battle in the ANC demands, he could deliver on his pledges. An impeachment inquiry has been averted but Phala Phala has cost Ramaphosa his credibility and the exceptionalism on which his claim to public sympathy is premised. 
He has looked like any other president on the defensive as he evaded questions and shifted blame to his security chief. That it has taken him months to offer a vague explanation suggests he fears his enemies had facts to counter his version.


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Cyril Ramaphosa
David Mabuza
Maite Nkoana-Mashabane
Fikile Mbalula
Angie Motshekga
Aaron Motsoaledi
Nathi Mthethwa
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
Mmamoloko Kubayi
Thandi Ruth Modise
Khumbudzo Ntshavheni
Ebrahim Patel
Naledi Pandor
Mathume Joseph Phaahla
Pravin Gordhan
Senzo Mchunu
Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams
Lindiwe Sisulu
Thokozile Didiza
Lindiwe Zulu
Patricia DeLille
Ronald Lamola
Barbara Creecy
Bheki Cele
Blade Nzimande
Mondli Gungubele
Enoch Godongwana
Gwede Mantashe
Thulas Nxesi
(Public Service and Administration)
Thulas Nxesi
(Employment and Labour)