Introduction: Boiling Frog Syndrome...put a frog in boiling water and he’d jump straight out. But put him in cold water and slowly turn up the heat, the frog would stay in and expire. Much of that mentioned in the opinion piece, beneath has already happened in South Africa and certainly after Ramaphosa became President, he has turned up the heat. Seems there are some that have adjusted while others have jumped or preparing to jump. As said in the classics... “Something to think about!”
Cyril Ramaphosa and the story of the frogs in the water. From memoirs by - The Late Dr Mario Oriani-Ambrosini.
"In his brutal honesty, Ramaphosa told me of the ANC's 25-year strategy to deal with the whites: it would be like boiling a frog alive, which is done by raising the temperature very slowly. Being cold-blooded, the frog does not notice the slow temperature increase, but if the temperature is raised suddenly, the frog will jump out of the water. He meant that the black majority would pass laws transferring wealth, land, and economic power from white to black slowly and incrementally, until the whites lost all they had gained in South Africa, but without taking too much from them at any given time to cause them to rebel or fight."
Since then Mr Ramaphosa has had a great deal else to say. He said recently that "radical economic transformation" required policies with an "over-riding focus on the creation of jobs". Policies that "do not create jobs – or that threaten jobs – must be reviewed and revised." This thinking is incompatible with expropriation of all white "wealth, land, and economic power".
Mr Ramaphosa told the South African Communist Party (SACP) that "far higher levels of fixed investment" were necessary to achieve growth and create employment on a massive scale. Such investment would not be forthcoming in the context of the mass expropriation of white property of which he had spoke about at the time to Dr Oriani-Ambrosini. Investors are already extremely wary.
Mr Ramaphosa knows this. Even so, he has recently endorsed the African National Congress’s (ANC's) policy of bringing about a national democratic revolution – although these remarks are routinely ignored by newspapers and nearly all on-line commentators. Either they do not take them seriously, or they do not wish to alert the frogs. Mr Ramaphosa of course benefits from this voluntary censorship.
His remarks all those many years ago help to explain something the mining industry does not understand: why, despite its achievements in handing over equity to black economic empowerment partners, the mining minister keeps on demanding more.
Although his language was lurid, what Mr Ramaphosa told Dr Oriani-Ambrosini is in line with the "strategy and tactics" documents the African National Congress (ANC) and its SACP allies publish from time to time on the national democratic revolution. Implementation does not involve a "big-bang" approach, because this would frighten the horses, or alert the frogs. An incremental approach is likely to be more successful. Move forward where you can, stage a tactical retreat if you provoke too much opposition, and then press forward when the time is more auspicious. Read the memoirs - the Prince and I: A South African Institutional Odyssey - By Dr Mario Oriani-Ambrosini.
To what extent Mr Ramaphosa is still committed to what he said in his speech about white people and frogs is not clear. As a trade unionist before he went into politics he had to adopt a pragmatic approach. If he ever became president of the ANC and of the country, would pragmatism supplant revolutionary ideology? (As at 18th December, 2019 Cyril Ramaphosa his President of South Africa)
Answers: The answers can only be guesswork. Mr Ramaphosa's main attraction at this stage is that his political rivals for the top job are uninspiring, if not worse. This alone will secure him media and business support, irrespective of whether he is a revolutionary or a reformer. And we all know who his political rivals are for the job.
About the author: Dr Mario Oriani-Ambrosini, who died in 2014, was a constitutional lawyer who became an MP. He was also a key adviser to Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi both during the negotiations and afterwards when the latter was minister of home affairs in the governments of national unity. His memoirs – the Prince and I: A South African Institutional Odyssey – has been published in 2017 by his estate.
Source: The above opinion piece was first published by John Kane-Berman on an intriguing anecdote in the late Mario Oriani-Ambrosini's memoirs.
This article is written by Shar Grainger published for relevance and interest by Break the Silence About South Africa community page, dated 18th December, 2019.
Action Is Antidote to Despair.