Letter: Ramaphosa is not powerless - Businesslive

5 March 2019 - My unorthodox view entails that all parties bargain with Ramaphosa not as a powerless hostage but a leader, to be taken at his word. Better debate it than blind it by racial “beaconing”.

Last week, Business Day columnist Peter Bruce smeared me with misrepresentations and insults (“The DA’s Infuriating Coalition Conundrum”, February 27) in response to my claim that, as the headline expressed it, “Like every other ‘Cyrilist’, Peter Bruce is in denial” (BusinessLIVE, December 18).

I had two main arguments. First, the only colour that really cuts us apart is green. The “first row” of state capturers — Jacques Pauw called them “keepers” — knew that and preferred the public to think in terms of white-versus-black instead. Where I said the keepers’ cohorts were “multiracial” and “rainbow’” Bruce said I called “all the bad guys … black”. However inadvertently, Bruce’s race reductionism was useful to the keepers; still is.

While Bruce described me in terms such as “idiotically” and “deranged”, this misrepresentation is a worse extreme. What is he exploiting? Retiring veteran Tim Cohen recalled better days last week, describing Bruce as “classy” and the “Business Day beacon”. Business Day now deserves better than its race essentialist emeritus.

My second argument is that President Cyril Ramaphosa should not be excused for pushing or appeasing race nationalists. Bruce says Ramaphosa “has no choice”. I say his power is immense.

First, consider last week’s headline: “Ramaphosa is more popular than the ANC”, which has been true for years. Second, he is richer. Third, his threat — ANC mutineers — would be known race nationalist looters.

My unorthodox view entails that all parties bargain with Ramaphosa not as a powerless hostage but a leader, to be taken at his word. Better debate it than blind it by racial “beaconing”.

Gabriel Crouse
Fellow, Institute of Race Relations

https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/opinion/letters/2019-03-05-letter-ramaphosa-is-not-powerless/

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