Opinion: Optimism should not stop South Africans from holding Ramaphosa accountable

Opinion: Optimism should not stop South Africans from holding Ramaphosa accountable

Editor’s note - ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu recently said President Cyril Ramaphosa should be allowed to do his job without interference from ordinary people who think they can do his job. Mthembu said only the president can appoint and make certain decisions.

Briefly.co.za looks at why this statement is fraught with danger and why ordinary South Africans should take an interest in how the country is run instead of sitting back passively as we had done during the Zuma years.

READ ALSO: "We had no choice," Gigaba justifies VAT increase

President Cyril Ramaphosa is currently riding the crest of a wave of popularity. Rarely has an incoming president been so universally welcomed by all corners of society and even opposition political parties.

Since Ramaphosa took the oath of office last Friday a sense of hope, positivity and optimism has gripped our weary nation.

Ramaphosa’s message of stamping out corruption, trimming the excess bloat from the government to improve efficiency, kick-starting the economy and making the country work for all its citizens is the perfect antidote to years of negativity.

Under former president Zuma, South Africans had almost become immune to bad news, scandals and ineptitude. In other words, we the citizens became complacent and accepted that things in the country were how they were.

On Wednesday Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba delivered his maiden budget speech. The speech should serve as a wake-up call to each and every citizen of the country.

Gigaba himself is a very compromised character who is ill-suited to the role of finance minister. Regardless of whether allegations that he is at the centre of state capture are true or not, Gigaba lacks the dignity and poise which is required of someone in such an important position.

What the budget speech revealed is how much we the ordinary people of the country would have to pay for becoming complacent during the Zuma years. The headline from the budget speech is the first increase in VAT since 1993.

Other notable increases are the usual sin tax increases and a whopping 52c per litre hike in the fuel levy. The 2018 budget will leave nearly all South Africans poorer.

This my fellow South Africans this why we can’t afford to become passive again.

Yes, we should give the new president some time to implement all the changes he has promised and those changes need to be given even more time to start having a real effect, but ordinary citizens deserve to see real change on the ground.

We as South African citizens have a constitutional duty to hold the government (and by extension Ramaphosa) to account.

Let the Zuma years serve as a warning and a lesson to future generations, never become complacent about the country’s leadership again.

Being optimistic and hopeful should mean we the people expect more from our leaders not less.

READ ALSO: EFF rejects budget speech and calls on Ramaphosa to remove Gigaba

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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