President Cyril Ramaphosa is weaponising the International Court of Justice case against Israel in order to cling to power.

Three weeks ago, I expressed the view that the ANC government, in accusing Israel of committing genocide in Gaza, was ‘not really motivated by the desire for justice’, but that it was ‘motivated by but one purpose: electoral gain’.

I speculated that since the ANC could not point to its successes, and needed to distract people from its failures, a narrative that ‘we fought apartheid then, and we’re fighting global apartheid today’ would be an effective, albeit dishonest, election slogan. 

The ANC was way ahead of me, however, and went much further. 

It is using the case to paint everyone who opposes the party, and everyone who votes against the party, as being in cahoots with dark Israeli forces.

In closing the ANC’s recent National Executive Committee (NEC) lekgotla in Boksburg, and launching the ANC’s election campaign, President Cyril Ramaphosa warned that South Africa’s genocide case against Israel would have political repercussions. 

Regime change

‘The ANC is on high alert for possible attempts of regime change in South Africa by Israel’, reported the state broadcaster. ‘ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa says he expects a full-blown fightback from the Israelis.’

‘The fightback may also focus on our domestic politics’, said Ramaphosa, ‘and our electoral outcomes, in order to pursue a regime change agenda.’

This is a classic propaganda strategy, employed by many a populist politician over the centuries. Establish that a group of people, foreign or domestic, have nefarious intentions towards the country, thereby directing the attention of the people away from the record of the incumbents in government. 

Creating such an enemy, and pre-emptively accusing them of dirty tricks and election interference, positions the ANC to reject any and all challenges to its incumbency as an Israeli plot.

This is an open ‘blame-the-Jews’ strategy, aimed at denouncing all the ANC’s political enemies as agents of their supposed ‘genocidal apartheid state’.

(For the record, I’ve written extensively on why I believe the allegation of genocide is unjustified, and have also written to debunk the claim that Israel is an ‘apartheid state’.)


Demonising a group of people in this manner is a very dangerous strategy, and has obvious echoes in the antisemitic politics that presaged the Second World War.

Antisemitism had been on the rise in the years leading up to the 7 October attack, and spiked sharply in the wake of the attack, both worldwide and in South Africa

Ramaphosa’s use of the term ‘regime change’ is rich, given that he is merely talking about ‘electoral outcomes’.

He appears to be afraid that Israel might make embarrassing disclosures that would put the ANC or the South African government in a bad light.

A great number of South Africans are hoping to effect ‘regime change’ by means of the only civilised and peaceful means available to them, namely the ballot box. By using a term usually associated with the military overthrow of a government for a prospective electoral defeat, Ramaphosa delegitimises democracy itself.

Ramaphosa’s warning about election interference is also rather rich, since his party and his government – it is hard to distinguish the two, sometimes – have aligned themselves with the very countries that stand accused of election interference in liberal democracies, namely Russia, China and Iran.


Ramaphosa claims that the case before the ICJ was ‘driven by our conscience and our principles’, thereby attempting to place himself and the ANC on the moral high ground. 

From those lofty heights, it must be very hard to see the teeming multitudes – many of them ANC voters – suffering in poverty, misery and unemployment, deprived of even the most basic services like water, sewerage and electricity, all because of the ANC’s betrayal of South Africa’s constitutional principles of human dignity, equality, non-racialism, the rule of law, clean governance, social justice and accountability.

In the shadow of that moral high ground lie the four volumes of the Zondo Commission Report into State Capture, about which Ramaphosa has, to date, done absolutely nothing.

Wicked plot

By inventing a Jewish conspiracy to overthrow the ANC government, Ramaphosa and the fat cats on the ANC NEC can attribute any and all criticism directed at it to being part of a wicked foreign plot. 

It will be able to paint everyone who, contrary to the ANC, has not taken the side of the Hamas terrorists, as collaborators with a foreign campaign to ‘interfere’ with elections. 

It can denounce anyone who defends Israel against the charge of genocide or acknowledges its right to self-defence – no matter their actual views about how Israel conducts the war in Gaza or their position vis-á-vis the present Israeli government – as supporters of a ‘genocidal’ ,‘apartheid’ state whose only objective is to reinstitute apartheid in South Africa.

It can discredit the disclosure of information aimed at exposing the ANC’s own poor service record, its own corruption, and its own dubious dealings with foreign powers, as the stratagems of a perverse Israeli scheme, tantamount to treason.

Another five years

By positioning the ANC as the only bulwark against the global – and Jewish – forces of ‘apartheid’ and ‘genocide’, it evidently hopes to scare enough long-suffering South Africans into giving it another five years in power.

Another five years to pursue the disastrous National Democratic Revolution. Another five years to destroy basic services and infrastructure. Another five years to steal everything that moves. Another five years to destroy small businesses and throw people out of work. Another five years to cosy up to the world’s autocracies, economic basket cases, and violators of human rights. Another five years to ignore the actual genocides in China, Myanmar, Sudan, Ethiopia and elsewhere. 

The depths which Ramaphosa’s ANC will go to in order to cling to power have yet to be plumbed, but crude antisemitic conspiracy theories are clearly not beneath it.

[Photo: Ramaphosa on regime change.webp]

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa, in closing the partys National Executive Committee Lekgotla on Tuesday 30 January 2024 warned of regime change’ by Israel. Still image from SABC News broadcast, 31 January 2024.

The views of the writer are not necessarily the views of the Daily Friend or the IRR.

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Ivo Vegter is a freelance journalist, columnist and speaker who loves debunking myths and misconceptions, and addresses topics from the perspective of individual liberty and free markets. .