Cyril's calm demeanour paying off

President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Image: Moeletsi Mabe

As we mark 100 days since President Cyril Ramaphosa came into office, one thing is becoming clear: He may take an unnecessarily long time to get things done, but when he does, he does so decisively.

There have been many instances over the past 100 days or so when the nation expressed frustration with the new president's style of leadership, especially with regard to his apparent hesitation when it comes to axing those accused of corruption, misconduct or incompetence in government.

Yet, when we look at his record so far, Ramaphosa has gotten rid of more wayward public representatives and civil servants from top jobs in his first 100 days in office than any of his predecessors over the same period.

The latest to go has been the poster boy of all that has been wrong with ANC-led provincial governments, North West's Supra Mahumapelo. The self-styled Black Jesus finally announced yesterday that he was taking "early retirement".

Although he tried hard to convince the nation that this had been his decision, we all know that his departure is by no means voluntary. Ramaphosa, and many others in the ANC who realised just how much damage Mahumapelo was inflicting on the party's brand ahead of what promises to be a tough election next year, worked tirelessly behind the scenes to have him gone.

Like his political idol Jacob Zuma, Mahumapelo for weeks resisted being recalled - convinced that playing a combination of populist and victimhood cards would save him. But, like we saw in Zuma's case, such an approach only works to buy the likes of Mahumapelo a few weeks or so.

In the end, Ramaphosa's patient approach of systematically isolating his target from its traditional base eventually succeeds.

Mahumapelo is now history, and we would not be surprised if on Monday we wake up to the news that he has been removed as the ANC's provincial chairman too and that his provincial executive committee has been disbanded.

The only question that remains is how long would it take before the Ramaphosa axe starts falling on the cabinet ministers accused of serious acts of corruption. The New Dawn would be believable to most if he uses the next 100 days to clean up his cabinet.