Approximately 5 weeks ago in Germiston, President Ramaphosa addressed an unprecedented gathering of more than 2000 members of the SA Hellenic, Italian and Portuguese (HIP)communities. The President recognized these communities as heritage South African communities, that form an integral part of the diverse social tapestry of our wonderful, unique country, South Africa.
The President’s ease and comfort with and his knowledge of the fabric and constitution of these communities, many of whom he has interacted within business and politics, made us feel at home with him and equally, he felt at home with us.
He was one of us! It demonstrated a willingness to engage these communities on a scale that no other party, other than the ANC has demonstrated between and at the time of elections.
The President’s engagement with the HIP communities, of course, invokes the quintessential question, whom do I vote on 8 May?
Exercising one’s democratic right through the ballot box is one of the most critical and fundamental duties of any citizen. Given the set of circumstances that presently face our country, tomorrow’s vote takes on even greater relevance and meaning. It requires even greater logical analysis. Often logic and clear messaging are crowded out by noise and clutter. This is the clear messaging and logic we heard from the President in Germiston 5 weeks ago:
1. Inclusive growth and job creation are the 2 single most important elements to addressing the many and vast challenges facing our country. Growth will depend amongst other things on restoring confidence to unlock investment. The markets are comfortable with President Ramaphosa, they’ve said so loud and clear. The Markets like Ramaphosa and the reforms he stands for. Conversely, coalition governments are bad for the markets and will dent confidence. A resounding victory for the President is critical to reassuring the markets and ensuring stability and a continued free market for inclusive growth.
2. Meaningfully addressing Corruption is also key to restoring confidence. All parties and all political leaders talk about eliminating corruption, but how many of them can address it or even have the will power to do so? President Ramaphosa is the only one with a track record to do so amongst the current leaders of political parties. He has adequately demonstrated this in a short space of 12 months, setting up commissions to investigate state capture, corruption at SARS and the PIC. He has fired the SARS commissioner and strengthened both the NPA and SIU. SOE officials have been suspended and are facing disciplinary action. Some have been ordered by courts to pay back the money. Charges have been laid and more will follow. This was previously unheard of. This clearly demonstrates the President’s firm, fearless and principled stance of eliminating corruption, across all sections of society, even amongst those in his own party.
3. Embracing our country’s diversity and eliminating racial hatred of all forms, eliminating sexism and violence against women and children are key elements to establishing both social cohesion and stability in our country. This is important for HIP communities and in fact all communities. The only leader again that can realize a broad church in our diverse country is President Ramaphosa. His track record through CODESA, the trade unions, in business and in politics is unrivaled by any of those from other political parties. Little wonder he received widespread applause and public approval in Germiston 5 weeks ago.
4. Part of restoring the investor confidence we discussed earlier, is enhancing relations with our counterpart country partners, in this context, Cyprus 🇨🇾, Greece 🇬🇷, Italy 🇮🇹 and Portugal 🇵🇹. The extensive historical relations that exist between the ANC and these 4 countries have fostered not only close engagement but a human rights policy driven agenda by South Africa 🇿🇦 consistent with many of our common set of issues, particularly as South Africa assumes its position in the UN Security Council. The engagement with both the President and our DIRCO minister, Lindiwe Sisulu in advancing and strengthening bilateral and multilateral relations with the HIP countries, all 4 of whom are EU member states is both heartwarming and appreciated.
These are some of the more important elements facing the HIP communities and provide food for thought. We all want our place in the sun, the President ticks all these boxes and more and enables a place in the sun for all. He is deserving of our support. Above all it demonstrates why Ramaphosa must win come 8 May, he represents not only the best choice but probably our last chance of addressing the current set of challenges that face our beloved country.
A vote for Ramaphosa is a logical and well thought through vote!
Stavros Nicolaou is the Chairman of the HIP Alliance and a Senior Executive at Aspen, responsible for Strategic Trade and writes in his personal capacity.