Ramaphosa displaying the mettle we expect

President Cyril Ramaphosa must be mindful of what lies ahead and resist any temptation to fall into political complacency, the writer says.
President Cyril Ramaphosa must be mindful of what lies ahead and resist any temptation to fall into political complacency, the writer says.
Image: GCIS

There can be no doubt that since the outbreak of Covid-19, President Cyril Ramaphosa has displayed the kind of leadership many South Africans expect from their head of state.

Barring some criticism about certain granular details of his response plan, Ramaphosa has largely been lauded as having shown his mettle at a particularly difficult time in our country.

Indeed, he has been decisive, clear and purposeful in marshalling how we ought to confront what is one of the deadliest pandemics to hit the world in our lifetime.

Yesterday, Ramaphosa appeared upbeat and resolute when giving police officers and soldiers their line of march for the 21-day lockdown period.

"This is the moment you were trained for," Ramaphosa said.

"Officers, I send you off now to go and be among our people, to go conduct service, to shower our people with guidance, advice and leadership."

Politically, Ramaphosa appears stronger than he has in several months since he first took office.

This is why the president must be mindful of what lies ahead and resist any temptation to fall into political complacency.

The support he has received from many sections of our society is no blank cheque.

It is a nation united behind his efforts to curb the spread of the virus provided that he is guided by principles of service to our country.

Ahead of all of us is an even steeper hill to conquer - that of rebuilding a country ravaged, economically or otherwise, by this pandemic.

This is when our resolve as a nation will be tested even more.

It is when the agility of our leaders will be measured and the resilience of our public institutions will also be put to the test.

Our post-virus reality will equally demand that drastic decisions are made to deliberately create economic opportunities, in particular for poor and working-class citizens who are ultimately the hardest hit by this crisis.

Here too we must demand that Ramaphosa steps up to the plate.

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