OPINION

Ramaphosa no different than rest of corrupt – Mmusi Maimane

DA wants one law for everyone, not a different one for President and his cronies

Honour the ANC as a monument, but vote DA as a government

29 April 2019

My fellow South Africans,

On the eve of this historic election, each of us stands before a choice that will either take our country forward towards a bright future, or drag us even further back towards poverty, unemployment and despair.

We must choose between a forward-looking DA government with a bold plan to turn our country around, or another five years under this ANC government with its crippling corruption and its policies from a time the rest of the world has already forgotten.

That is our choice on 8 May.

For many of you this will mean voting for a different party next week. It will mean turning your back on the party of the struggle – the party of your parents – and choosing a government that you might not have thought possible a few years ago.

I know this is not easy. For many of you, the ANC is like family – it’s almost part of your identity. But that party doesn’t exist any longer. The ANC that was formed right here in this little church more than a century ago, and that spearheaded our struggle for liberation, has long since been replaced by a greedy and corrupt gang that is slowly bleeding our country dry.

On Wednesday the fuel price will go up by another 54c per litre. Well over a third of that is made up of taxes. Consider that back in 1993 the ANC waged a campaign against what they called the “ill-considered and uncaring decision” to increase the petrol price. They said the government of the day did not “have the interests of the majority of South Africans, who are poor and struggling desperately to make ends meet, at heart.”

Yet they have consistently increased the fuel price, and particularly the tax component over the past decade. The ANC of today does not care about poor South Africans. They only care about funding their own corruption and mismanagement.

Take a look at those faces that you can just about make out on these cooling towers behind us. Those were the leaders of a very different ANC. And there is a bitter significance to the sorry state of this artwork. Just as those murals have been allowed by the ANC to fade and peel, leaving behind just traces of these icons, the party itself has been reduced to something barely recognisable from its former self.

I’m sure it must have been with great pride that this artwork was placed up there. These leaders were a source of inspiration not only to the party, but to many South Africans who weren’t necessarily committed to the ANC.

But ask yourself, which of the ANC leaders of today would be worthy of a ten-storey mural like this? If the ANC had to honour its recent generation on these towers, would we see the face of David Mabuza up there? Would we see Ace Magashule? Jacob Zuma? Gwede Mantashe? Jessie Duarte?

I think we all know the answer to these questions. Even the ANC itself would be too embarrassed to put their faces up there.

But what about Cyril Ramaphosa, I hear you say. I know some of you might feel that at least he is worthy of a memorial. But let’s talk for a moment about President Cyril Ramaphosa. Because there are some things about him that people seem to be uncomfortable discussing.

As much as he’d like you to believe he just arrived on the scene a year ago and had nothing to do with the plunder of our state or its ongoing cover-up, there are facts that tell a very different story.

It is a fact that Cyrirl Ramaphosa was Deputy President throughout the entire last term of the Zuma administration. During this time he voted, time and time again, to shield Zuma from accountability and keep him installed as President. Only when it was clear that Zuma was heading for a fall, did he speak out against him for the first time ever.

It is a fact that, despite all evidence of the Arms Deal corruption, the Nkandla corruption, the Bosasa corruption and the Gupta corruption being out there in the open and known to all, Cyril Ramaphosa did nothing about this. His claim that he was unaware of it all is laughable.

It is a fact that Cyril Ramaphosa, in his role as Lonmin board member, urged police to take “concomitant action” against the striking mine workers at Marikana, calling their actions “dastardly criminal”. The next day, police shot and killed 34 of these workers.

It is a fact that Cyril Ramaphosa was appointed Chair of the Interministerial Committee on State-Owned Enterprises at the start of his term as Deputy President in 2014. It was literally his job to oversee the turnaround of our struggling SOEs like Eskom and Prasa. How did he then miss the brazen looting that took place there over the years that followed? And how can he take no responsibility at all for their complete financial and operational collapse during this time?

And it is a fact that Cyril Ramaphosa, along with dozens of his senior party members, received money and gifts from the corrupt Bosasa, and that his son continued to receive money from them throughout his term as president.

Those are facts.

The ANC would like you to believe the perception about Ramaphosa being an honest and accountable president, because that perception is all this once-great party has left. But we can’t deal with perceptions. We must only deal with facts. And the facts show that Cyril Ramaphosa is no different to the rest of the corrupt party he presides over.

Yesterday’s Sunday Times front page told us that 83 people, many of whom are ANC politicians and officials, are being probed by SARS for their Bosasa bribes and the tax they are liable for. It mentioned Nomvula Mokonyane, Hlaudi Mostsoeneng, Nomgcobo Jiba, Dudu Myeni and the Jacob Zuma Foundation, among others. But two names were conspicuous in their absence from this news report: President Cyril Ramaphosa and his son, Andile Ramaphosa.

We all know they received money from Bosasa. If the rest of the R75 million that Bosasa paid to ANC politicians each year were bribes, as was revealed in the Zondo Commission testimony, then it would be crazy to think that the money paid to these two was something else.

I will be writing to SARS to establish whether both Ramaphosa senior and junior are part of this 83-person investigation. If necessary, I will submit a PAIA application for this information. And if their names are not yet on the list, I will request that the SARS investigation be extended to include them as well.

One law for all South Africans. That’s what we signed up for in our Constitution. Not one law for the President and his cronies, and another law for the faction of his political enemies.

If we are to forge a new future for our country, then it is crucial that we do it right. This means honouring our Constitution. It means respecting the Rule of Law. And it means holding the President to the same standards, if not higher, than everyone else.

Fellow South Africans, 8 May is our one chance to get it right. Let us go out there and vote for the future by electing a government of the future.

Let us remember the ANC and the role they played in our country’s history. Let us preserve sites like this one here at the Wesleyan Church, and let us restore and preserve murals such as these ones on the towers here. Because they are our history, and this is important.

But that’s all this ANC is now – history. Over the course of their 25 years in office, they have gone from Movement to Monument.

Next week we must put them in the museum, and we must put the DA in government. That would be the very best thing we all could do for our country.

That would allow us to finally start building the country we all want to live in – One South Africa for all.

Issued by Mmusi Maimane, Leader of the Democratic Alliance, 29 April 2019