SA’s Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s sex scandal has certainly made for some scintillating discussion on the character of the man who is also hoping to take over from President Jacob Zuma come 2019 but will it do much more than that?
On September 3, SA’s Sunday Independent newspaper broke the story on Ramphosa’s sex scandal writing that “Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, whose presidential campaign is modeled on moral and ethical leadership, appears not to practice what he preaches,” the article painted Ramaphosa in the colors of what is known as a “blesser” in South Africa and a sugar daddy in broader circles.
Ramaphosa had tried to get a court bib to gag the newspaper the day before the story was published but when that failed he offered an exclusive to a rival Sunday paper in which he admitted to one extra-marital affair eight years ago.
On September 6, he told his colleagues in parliament on Sep. 6 that he would be accountable and make a full statement in a few days. He continues to maintain that the scandal was part of a plot that used state security resources to create a dossier of transgressions to derail his political ascent.
Ramaphosa’s sex scandal became a topic of discussion with just weeks left to the African National Congress’ elective congress. The deputy President happens to be one of the hopefuls for the party’s leadership and should he indeed win, it is practically a shoe in to the Presidency when President Jacob Zuma finally leaves.
South Africa like most African countries can be deemed conservative and the country certainly seems to place a high premium on families but does that in any way make Ramaphosa’s sex scandal a big deal? SA’s Sunday Independent newspaper claim that it is by justifying their publication of the story morally.
Cyril Ramaphosa is the head of the South African National Aids Council and has in the past spoken out against “blessers,” saying that they were responsible for spreading HIV in the country. There is also the fact that the newspaper described some of the eight women Ramaphosa “preyed” on with his “massive wealth” as “emotionally battered” and in need of cash.
All of that makes for the exciting story that is Ramaphosa’s sex scandal but there is little fear that it could damage Ramaphosa’s political career in anyway. Here are a three reasons that may be;
Ramaphosa will not be the first South African political figure to be embroiled in a sex scandal and all the others have gotten away with it. President Jacob Zuma is a ready example. In 2007, President Zuma was accused of rape. The woman who was dubbed Khwezi (now late) was attacked by the party’s women’s league and eventually hounded out of the country after he was acquitted.
More recently, in May, when minister in the presidency Jeff Radebe was caught demanding nude pictures from a staff member at the Union Buildings, all he had to do was to apologize and after a brief bout of social media aggression, all was forgiven.
Cyril Ramaphosa and his affair or affairs will probably fizzle out in the same way.
The party politics in South Africa has even gotten more heated and everyone is being forced to take clear sides. For that reason, prominent South Africans will probably be forced to come out in defense of the perpetrator and in doing so, blame the victim.
The Good Wife
Although Ramaphosa admitted to having had an affair with his doctor eight years ago, he said that he had resolved this with his wife. Tshepo Motsepe, a medical doctor, has expressed unequivocal support for her husband. She said; “It is very sad what is happening. It’s disappointing that people have to go to such lengths to discredit a person. I am very, very upset about it. We have been together a long time and are happily married,”