Debate: As a public figure Cyril Ramaphosa is held to a higher standard...or not

Cyril Ramaphosa's infidelity revelations have everyone asking one thing. Will this affect his presidential bid?

Some political analysts say yes, other say no - but one thing is for sure. This news has impacted how the public sees him.

Political analysts, Karima Brown and Prince Mashele explain why this news impacts his campaign and how people view him.

Read: Ramaphosa allegations a political smear campaign, says Deputy Health Minister

Mashele says that this is because public figures like Ramaphosa are not seen as normal human beings, and therefore their actions are highly scrutinised.

By being a public figure, you are placing restrictions on your life. In other words, there are things that are done by normal human beings that you can't do, by virtue of the face that you are a public figure. A public figure who does not know that means that they are not ready to lead.

Prince Mashele, Political analysts

Karima Brown adds to this, saying that we do hold public figures to a higher standard, due to the expectations of their positions.

While she concedes that there are higher expectations of leaders, Brown says leaders should not be that different to ordinary people, because that assumes that ordinary people can't become leaders.

Read: I have never met Cyril Ramaphosa in my entire life - Nonhlanhla Radebe

Members of the public hold elected representatives to a higher standard. They do that in terms of the way they run the country, their departments and the way in which they run their personal lives.

Karima Brown, Political analysts

When it comes to whether Ramaposa's actions influence his work or his presidential campaign, Mashele and Brown have different perspectives. For Brown, leader's personal life is of little consequence if these matters do not affect their ability to do their job.

Bigger issues that concern Brown are things like if a leader steals from the people, misuses state institutions, uses their power to extract sexual favours or impose themselves on the bodies of men and women.

When it comes to an extra martial affair, Brown says we should follow France's example and leave private affairs private.

Of course we expect leadership to behave in a particular way, but we must be very clear about what those issues are. I don't care who Cyril Ramaphosa has sex with. I care whether he steals from the country.

Karima Brown, Political analysts

For Mashele, Ramaphosa's affairs or any other bad behavior from powerful people is important, as this speaks to their moral compass, character and how they conduct themselves.

He adds that if a leader acts in a way that he would not want his children to behave, he judges them. This is because for him, a leader who acts in a way that contradicts what he believes society could become, is problematic.

A leader sets a standard. A leader is an embodiment of social values. So the way you conduct yourself says, this is the best of society. If a leader conducts himself in a manner that projects a society that doesn't care about high moral standards, I worry about that.

Prince Mashele, Political analysts

Listen to the full breakdown below:


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