Flip-flops by Cyril Ramaphosa cause for concern

As frustrated South Africans went without electricity, President Cyril Ramaphosa spent two days at the ANC's national executive committee meeting and seemed content with leaving the power crisis with the Eskom executives to fix, the writer says.
As frustrated South Africans went without electricity, President Cyril Ramaphosa spent two days at the ANC's national executive committee meeting and seemed content with leaving the power crisis with the Eskom executives to fix, the writer says.
Image: GCIS

There is no doubt that, given the options before the electorate, President Cyril Ramaphosa was the best bet for South Africa to survive after the ruinous years of his predecessor Jacob Zuma's administration.

But he can really be indecisive at the most inappropriate of times. And that is a sign of bad leadership.

His puzzling handling of his trip to Egypt, which he had to cut short at short notice yesterday in order to return home and deal with the Eskom crisis, is the latest in a series of flip-flops on important issues.

The Egyptian trip was long scheduled and was an important one for the president to take given that SA is about to take over from the North African country as the chair of the African Union.

He was to share notes with Egyptian president Fatah El-Sisi, who has spent the outgoing year chairing the continental body. Ramaphosa was also scheduled to attend a summit on Sustainable Development during his stay in Cairo, the Egyptian capital.

Yet within hours of landing there yesterday morning, the president decided to fly back home for an emergency meeting with the leadership of the troubled state-owned power utility Eskom.

We would understand if he had taken the decision on his arrival in Egypt because he had suddenly heard of the load-shedding crisis the parastatal had plunged South Africa into the moment he arrived on the other side.

But we all know that the load-shedding crisis began days before the president flew out to Egypt and that, even before he left, there were already calls for him to stay at home and sort out the mess.

As frustrated South Africans went without electricity, the president spent two days at the ANC's national executive committee meeting and seemed content with leaving the power crisis with the Eskom executives to fix.

As he flew out on Monday night, Eskom was announcing that it was implementing Stage 6 of the power cuts, causing much public panic.

Still, the president saw the need to leave. But as soon as he got to Cairo, with the DA back at home calling for his return, he suddenly changed his mind.

This kind of flip-flopping does not inspire much public confidence in the president and his New Dawn.

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