‘You are the one, Cyril’

ANC sup­port­ers at a gov­ern­ment event have made clear their sup­port for the party’s deputy pres­i­dent

CityPress - - News - LUBABALO NGCUKANA lubabalo.ngcukana@city­press.co.za

Cyril Ramaphosa stopped just short of call­ing for ANC mem­bers to vote for him to be party pres­i­dent so he can drag the coun­try’s econ­omy out of a re­ces­sion and “junk” sta­tus. But the deputy pres­i­dent’s less diplo­matic sup­port­ers took him out of his mis­ery and said it for him.

Ramaphosa ad­dressed thou­sands in a crowd of mainly ANC sup­port­ers at the Sada Sta­dium in Whit­tle­sea near Queen­stown, Eastern Cape, on Fri­day af­ter­noon where he vis­ited pub­lic em­ploy­ment pro­grammes.

He smiled and gig­gled as a woman sup­porter in the 10-pole mar­quee screamed: “The Eastern Cape wants you!”

He also spoke out against gov­ern­ment cor­rup­tion and slammed lead­ers who en­rich them­selves in­stead of serv­ing those who elected them.

Speak­ing mainly in isiZulu, Ramaphosa – cam­paign­ing to suc­ceed Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma who is be­lieved to pre­fer his deputy’s ri­val Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma – said: “We want a gov­ern­ment that is go­ing to lead this coun­try prop­erly.

“At the mo­ment, we are in a re­ces­sion. It’s also the truth that we are at junk sta­tus. There­fore we want a gov­ern­ment that is go­ing to take us out of junk sta­tus. We want a gov­ern­ment that will make sure...” he said, paus­ing as his voice was drowned out by sup­port­ers shout­ing, “Nguwe! Nguwe! [It’s you! It’s you!]”

On Fri­day night, Moody’s down­graded South Africa one notch to Baa3, just a notch above junk sta­tus, and as­signed a neg­a­tive out­look cit­ing re­duced prospects for eco­nomic growth and ris­ing pub­lic debt. Ramaphosa, flanked by Agri­cul­ture, Forestry and Fish­eries Min­is­ter Sen­zeni Zok­wana; deputy min­is­ters Stella Nd­abeni-Abra­hams of telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, Pam Tsh­wete of wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion, and Phathek­ile Holomisa of labour; as well as Eastern Cape Premier Phu­mulo Ma­su­alle and some of his ex­ec­u­tive, said the coun­try needed to cre­ate jobs so or­di­nary folk could ben­e­fit in­stead of a few con­nected peo­ple. Although it was a gov­ern­ment pro­gramme, the event turned into a po­lit­i­cal rally with ANC mem­bers in party colours hav­ing braved the cold to praise Ramaphosa in song. He did re­mind the crowd that it wasn’t an ANC event: “This is a meet­ing of gov­ern­ment. I can see that you want to change it into an ANC meet­ing ... As a dis­ci­plined deputy pres­i­dent I will talk about gov­ern­ment busi­ness.”

But he ap­peared to for­get that fact to­wards the end of his speech, call­ing on ANC mem­bers to be pre­pared when they went to the party’s pol­icy con­fer­ence next month and the na­tional elec­tive con­fer­ence in De­cem­ber.

He called on the Eastern Cape, the prov­ince with the sec­ond-largest ANC mem­ber­ship af­ter KwaZulu-Na­tal, to make a “mean­ing­ful con­tri­bu­tion”.

“And when you speak of ANC pol­icy po­si­tions you must speak the truth which comes from the branches.”

Speak­ing about the De­cem­ber lead­er­ship con­fer­ence he said: “That is where we are go­ing to con­sol­i­date the re­build­ing of our move­ment. We must take the ANC out of the cur­rent Badsha is a South African doc­u­men­tary pho­tog­ra­pher, artist, po­lit­i­cal and trade union ac­tivist, and a historian prob­lem it finds it­self in and raise it high.

“At the na­tional con­fer­ence you will also be elect­ing new lead­ers. Elect lead­ers you know and trust,” to which the crowd cheered: “Nguwe lowo! Nguwe lowo! [You are that leader!]”

Mean­while, for­mer Nel­son Man­dela Bay mayor Nceba Faku con­firmed he aban­doned his bid for the prov­ince’s chair­per­son­ship to sup­port for­mer deputy fi­nance min­is­ter Mce­bisi Jonas for the job. It re­mains un­clear, how­ever, if Jonas, seen as a Ramaphosa ally, will con­test Ma­su­alle, the cur­rent premier and chair, and his ri­val sec­re­tary Os­car Mabuyane.

ANC pro­vin­cial spokesper­son Mlibo Qo­boshiyane said the pro­vin­cial elec­tive con­fer­ence sched­uled for next month was now likely to be held only in Septem­ber.

IN HIS EL­E­MENT Cyril Ramaphosa

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