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Ramaphosa facing a gigantic task

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Division in the ANC, and the fierce politics that go with it, will make it a tricky, arduous battle.

President Cyril Ramaphosa

UNTESTED and unproven though it was, the recent assertion in the Durban Commercial Crime Court that 62 metro councillors had received hefty cash kickbacks in a garbage removal racket was breathtaking.

It laid out the depth of the rot in this country, where tender hopefuls and officials at every level of government seem to have taken the goings-on among the country’s leaders as open licence to pursue their own greed.

Not even the mounting evidence of graft which has poured out of commissions of inquiry, or the likes of the dynamite lobbed by Angelo Agrizzi, softened the surprise of 28% of the council’s public representatives allegedly being on the take.

This vividly illustrated how much repair President Cyril Ramaphosa has to do in his first full-term in office. It is a colossal mission – some would say an impossible one.

It starts with the selection of his new Cabinet, which the country’s political analysts will be watching, seeing it as a measure of his earnestness in a true “new dawn”.

Ramaphosa’s task then goes to officialdom, state-owned enterprises and undesirables in his party – all the way down to the alleged band of rogues in the eThekwini council.

There is crookery from top to bottom and he has to confront it mercilessly. Division in the ANC, and the fierce politics that go with it, will make it a tricky, arduous battle.

But he has to eradicate such betrayals of public trust; the alternative is South Africa’s ruin.