THE BLOG
04/05/2018 12:51 SAST | Updated 04/05/2018 12:51 SAST

Ramaphosa Is A Businessman. So Is Trump. Still Reassured?

The problem with politicians who "run a country like a business", is that business is about the bottom line. Hence the Traditional And Khoi-San Affairs Bill...

Simon Dawson/ Bloomberg/ Getty Images

HuffPost SA

OPINION

We see you, Mr Trump er, Ramaphosa

"'A President I Can Be Proud of': South Africans Express Their Hopes," proclaimed the New York Times upon the announcement of Cyril Ramaphosa as South Africa's new commander-in-chief. The rand recovered overnight from its decade-long slump, and white people started unpacking bags with one hand and cancelling one-way flights to Australia with the other.

We had grown so tired of the blatant abuse by one man — a certain Jacob Zuma — that we've found ourselves curled up in bed with another — a wealthy one at that — dreaming of all the wonderful things to come.

White folk took to social media posting their selfies with Ramaphosa on the Sea Point promenade, those outside Cape Town settled for making him their profile pic — hell, they were ten seconds away from changing their relationship statuses on Facebook. And then, in the month of Valentine, he dropped the "expropriation bomb", breaking their fragile little hearts into a million pieces.

He left them traumatised by his announcement of land expropriation without compensation, because how can a man serving their interests "business interests" suddenly side with the enemy?

Simple. It's business, sweetheart. Don't take it personally. And before he leaves all the black folk revelling in the revolutionary light of Uhuru dumbfounded, I would like to remind everyone that Cyril Ramaphosa is a businessman. And businessmen care about nothing more than the bottom line.

Just last year, I voiced my apprehension about this global trend of electing businessmen into office, citing instances of how these same business people corrupt governance, twisting and bending public policy to advance their business interests. Although universal, my warnings were specifically about Donald Trump... and just look what happened there.

It has been but a few months, and already our dear president is pulling Trump tactics of misdirection and undercover policy pushes on us.

Does anybody remember his early days in office? Trump, distracting the U.S. with a proclamation that he is building a wall to block off Mexico, had the whole country debating the merits and logistics of this wall, while he presidentially signed off on more anti-the-whole-world "executive orders" than any other U.S. president. Some of which would benefit his business friends, mind you.

It has been but a few months, and already our dear president is pulling Trump tactics of misdirection and undercover policy pushes on us.

While we're all trying to figure out how to hold on to the land that we own, how to expropriate (without compensation) the land that we'd like to own, and for some, how to stop paying the bank for land that we kind of own, Ramaphosa is trying to sign off on a bill that will allow mining companies easier access to land rich with minerals.

Buried in the 99-page Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Bill is a clause giving traditional leaders licence to enter into agreements with investors in respect of communal land, without consent from those whose customary land rights stand to be compromised.

In short, it would legitimise unlawful and corrupt sales of communal land to mining companies without consultation or accountability, as far as monies exchanged is concerned.

Yes, Ramaphosa gave up all business interests to fulfil his duties as president, but certain members of his family are still coining it from the mining sector — and needless to say, stand to benefit from the loophole the bill creates.

But honestly, that anyone expects the NUM-leader-turned-McDonalds-multimillionaire to suddenly put the people first is mind-boggling; he literally sold heart attacks with a side of chips.

(Now, I bet everybody's thinking about the part in "Miners Shot Down" when they go over the emails between Ramaphosa and Lonmin's chief commercial officer; you know: where he calls for "concomitant action" against the so-called criminal strikers.)

But honestly, that anyone expects the NUM-leader-turned-McDonalds-multimillionaire to suddenly put the people first is mind-boggling; he literally sold heart attacks with a side of chips.

So before getting too comfortable, picking out new bedding to snuggle up in as the cold of winter sets in, I suggest we remember that our beloved president is a shrewd businessman, ready to kick us out of his bed — without taxi money, even.