According to Makhosi Khoza, Ramaphosa fits the classical Seven Social Sins frame


Clyde Ramalaine

Dr Makhosi Khoza, the controversial and colourful former ANC MP that shot to fame for her participation in the Parliamentary Enquiry into the SABC, this week launched her new African Democratic Change Party, with an undeniable ANC logo resemblance. She was asked what to make of the ANC upcoming conference and its two front runners, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa respectively.  While her views on NDZ remain a critique, she is much softer when she acknowledges NDZ as a leader with a clear track record of capabilities and one that has contributed immensely.

However, Ramaphosa does not escape her vituperative tongue, when she finds an apt description of him in leaning on theologian Frederik Lewis Donaldson’ s homily delivered on March 20, 1925 in Westminster Abbey.  Donaldson originally referred to it as the Seven Deadly Social Evils. The same expression was later published by Ghandi on October 22,  1925 in his weekly newspaper Young India. There is also a historical link drawn between the Seven Sins conviction and the unveiling of a list of Seven Deadly Sins (lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride) accredited to Pope Gregory 1 in 590 AD as a way to keep the flock from straying into the thorny fields of ungodliness. Donaldson’s list includes: Politics without principles, Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Knowledge without character, Commerce without morality, Science without humanity and Worship without sacrifice.

What then could Khoza mean by framing Ramaphosa in the 20th century analysis of the Seven Social Sins.  She starts by saying: “…I have no faith in Cyril Ramaphosa’s Presidency.  He is just a more sophisticated version of President Zuma”. With these stinging words she equates Ramaphosa to a sophisticated version of Zuma, the latter in her eyes amoral.

She then qualifies her claim of a Ramaphosa sophistication as anchored in his legal background. In her own words, Ramaphosa “meets the criteria of all the Seven Social Sins. as well articulated by Frederick Lewis Donaldson”.

Politics without principles

When Khoza cloaks Ramaphosa as a political leader that operates in ‘politics without principles’ what could she be referring to ? Some will take this as far back as his 1996 resignation from his positions as African National Congress Secretary General, as well as from Parliament. There was strong speculation around Ramaphosa’s resignation that he was overlooked by Nelson Mandela when the latter was almost coerced to opt for Thabo Mbeki.  He he soon ventured into the private sector.

It is claimed in some circles that Ramaphosa made his comeback from his self-imposed exile in 2012 when he was willing to become Zuma’s man. Some believe Ramaphosa, without any true constituency of his own in the ANC, was willing to be a part of what some have deemed questionable leadership for his own personal ambitions.

However, his campaign to ANC high office preaches against the very leadership he is a part off and serves. Ramaphosa does not own up to any of the challenges of the current ANC leadership. He easily takes the glory for its successes though. Is Khoza therefore right to call Ramaphosa out as a man whose politics show no principle?.

Wealth without work

What does Khoza mean with this? Is she reminding us that Ramaphosa, a recognised billionaire and one of the wealthiest black people in South Africa, owes his wealth not as authentically created from his personal entreprenuerial flair or capacity and rather obtained as gifts that cost him nothing. We know that Ramaphosa was a black political face when white wealth needed to find a partner to justify its existence in democratic South Africa.

With this, Khoza might be saying Ramaphosa never worked for what he owns today. From the start of his career, he was a benefactor of the Urban Foundation, who paid for his education. He was directly groomed by Clive Menell’s of capital. NUM as a union came heavily sponsored by that same capital footprint. Ramaphosa led a union that PW Botha’s apartheid government acknowledged, when it did not regard the ANC. Khoza reminds us that the litany of big business deals, including McDonalds, Coca Cola and Bidvest etc, were all handed to him. Ramaphosa therefore is the signpost of a token for black empowerment and he has to defend the gross disparities of a South African economy controlled by white monopoly capital.

Pleasure without conscience

When Khoza says Ramaphosa embodies pleasure without conscience, is she referring to the recently exposed multiple affairs Ramaphosa’s emails unveiled? Is Khoza rightfully acknowledging that Ramaphosa never challenged the authenticity of the emails when he claimed his privacy was invaded as part of a dirty tricks campaign? When you read the emails, one is exposed to how Ramaphosa’s personal hedonistic pleasure affords him no conscience as to realising what his pleasure demands have done to the lives of these women. Khoza says Ramaphosa will not prove conscious when led by his personal pleasure.

Knowledge without character

Khoza goes on to frame Ramaphosa as one with knowledge but lacking in character.

It would appear that the paradox here is: regardless to how human beings have made significant strides in having sent people to space, performed open heart laser surgery and deciphered DNA, mankind has until now failed to live wisely. Khoza is saying despite Ramaphosa’s intellectual prowess, regardless of his exceptional wealth in economic status and his political presence, his choices as seen with the Marikana tragedy and the many squashed affairs with young ladies, one of whom he met at an HIV/ AIDS awareness event, confirms this unwise means of living. His apparent incessant greed for one more deal affords him no character to value others.

Commerce without morality

Is Khoza remotely referring to the many business transactions that show Ramaphosa as attuned to commerce devoid of a morality suggesting a heartless pursuit of economic self-interest, plausibly led by greed, at the expense of the masses?

  •  Lonmin Marikana Massacre

Can we deduce Khoza has Marikana as the centre of her thoughts when she says Ramaphosa fits the criteria of the Seven Social Sins? South Africa still suffers under the weight of what was a labour dispute that turned into timeless tragedy. How can we forget the direct role of Ramaphosa evidenced in a communications footprint with senior management on the eve the worst tragedy in our democracy? Is Khoza asking us not to forget Ramaphosa’s choice of words, “in line with this …there needs to be concomitant action to address this situation”. It is assumed his tone and choice of words shares a direct link for a claim that he has a case to answer.

  •  Coca Cola ABI/ SAB owner drivers tragedy

Is Khoza reminding us Ramaphosa’s economic interest is complicit in the tragedy of former ABI/ SAB workers hoodwinked in the name of a BEE deal that offered owner-driver opportunities to participate in this sector, that turned into an absolute tragedy for most of them. Workers lost all they ever worked for, their health and some even committed suicide. This hope for a better future turned in a cruel nightmare that continues to leave former ABI/SAB and Coca Cola workers destitute.

  •  Lesotho Bidvest Deal

Is Khoza referring to the Lesotho Bidvest deal that disrupted the politics of Lesotho when he as SADC negotiator stood accused of having been responsible for delivering the questionable contract of Bidvest?

From the words of Lesotho Deputy Prime Minister Manyane Moleleki, the umbilical chord for the collapse of a Lesotho government is traced to a South African company, namely Bidvest. This link is drawn narrower to bring the SADC facilitator, Cyril Ramaphosa, into the centre of the Lesotho crisis. It is challenging that key leaders in Lesotho in 2017 question a SADC process as they level claims against a company and the mandated SADC facilitator. The claims leveled emanate from Ramaphosa’s association with Bidvest – as a past shareholder and director – that is at the centre of a claimed dispute of having attained a multi-billion rand tender allegedly influenced by the SADC facilitator.

Science without humanity

Was Khoza remotely referring to Ramaphosa’s associations with the ‘science’ of conflict resolution and negotiations? An art he is celebrated for from the dawn of democracy, yet this science is bereft of humanity. This is claimed both at international and local levels.

In his serving capacities on behalf of SA and SADC Ramaphosa is tasked to engage in assisting peaceful negotiations to both South-Sudan and Lesotho. The South-Sudanese rebels leveled allegations against Ramaphosa for having taken bribes. Equally, key political leadership and students in landlocked Lesotho leveled accusations that directly link Ramaphosa to the Bidvest deal signalling material benefit from his negotiations.

On the local front, the Marikana issue is notable since – despite Ramaphosa’s celebrated science of negotiations as trade unionist, constitutional negotiator and international conflict arbiter – he opted in simplistic sense to misread the Marikana situation and denied the workers their humanity.

Worship without sacrifice

Interpreting the words of Donaldson, it would appear one man’s religion translates to another’s fantasy. It is as if there is a willingness to shout from rooftops the virtues of our espoused beliefs and not let it translate into our daily lives. Is Khoza drawing our collective attention to how Ramaphosa’s CR-17 campaign that came saturated with a claim of morality, in  which he prognosticated to the ‘Blessers’ (older men thriving of sexual favours from young ladies whom they are responsible for in economic upkeep), how wrong their practice is yet he was living a double life of hypocrisy as the Sunday Independent and Weekly Xpose revealed?

Is it this hypocrisy that drove Ramaphosa to violate the constitutional frame he participated in when he called on the Sunday Independent owner Dr. Iqbal Surve to personally intervene not to have the story placed? Did this ‘worship without sacrifice’ drive him to dispatch his campaign manager to meet with Sunday Independent editor Steve Motale at 8:30pm in seeking a deal? Is it that same worship without sacrifice that made him present a hashed, ill-prepared and eventually lost case coupled with a Sunday Times PR stint in which he admitted to one affair?

Alas, we cannot claim Khoza said this explicitly.

But she inadvertently compels us to ask why she claims Ramaphosa meets the criteria of the the Seven Social Sins.

Political commentator and analyst Clyde Ramalaine