‘Give ANC an­other chance’

Ramaphosa prom­ises re­vi­talised lead­er­ship

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - SIVIWE FEKETHA

THE ANC’s week-long charm of­fen­sive paid div­i­dends when tens of thou­sands of sup­port­ers gath­ered at the rally to launch the gov­ern­ing party’s elec­tion cam­paign at Moses Mab­hida Sta­dium in Dur­ban yes­ter­day.

Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa ap­pealed to South Africans to give the ANC an­other chance to gov­ern ahead of the up­com­ing elec­tions, say­ing the party, un­der his lead­er­ship, had re­versed its re­gres­sive prac­tices.

He also vowed to cre­ate more jobs, boost eco­nomic growth and ad­dress racial in­equal­i­ties.

South Africans’ votes, ex­pected in May, will be a test of whether Ramaphosa has been able to re­verse a de­cline in sup­port for the ANC that has seen its ma­jor­ity wane.

Ramaphosa was speak­ing at the ANC’s 107th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions and the launch of the party’s 2019 elec­tion man­i­festo.

The an­nual an­niver­sary state­ment is used to out­line the ANC’s pri­or­i­ties for the next year, while the man­i­festo is long-term and is pre­sented be­fore elec­tions ev­ery five years. The doc­u­ments are both used in out­lin­ing and for­mu­lat­ing gov­ern­ment pol­icy.

Ramaphosa said both the party and the coun­try had en­tered an era of re­newal un­der him.

The 85 000-seater sta­dium was packed to ca­pac­ity in the cul­mi­na­tion of a week of ANC fes­tiv­i­ties. For­mer pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma re­ceived ap­plause as he made his way to the stage and took time to dance with Umkhonto We Sizwe mil­i­tary veter­ans.

Po­lit­i­cal par­ties from neigh­bour­ing coun­tries in­clud­ing An­gola, Namibia, Botswana, Zim­babwe, Le­sotho and the Pales­tinian na­tional po­lit­i­cal party Fatah joined the cel­e­bra­tions.

The ANC, bat­tling chal­lenges of a united front, was re­lieved when there was no boo­ing dur­ing the pres­i­dent’s speech, despite threats of it from Zuma em­pathis­ers.

Ramaphosa said the ANC lead­er­ship un­der him had made progress in its ef­forts to re­store the in­tegrity and cred­i­bil­ity harmed by al­le­ga­tions of malef­i­cence, cor­rup­tion and state cap­ture.

“Where nec­es­sary, we have taken mea­sures to deal with cadres who have un­der­mined the in­tegrity of the move­ment and the eth­i­cal stan­dards ex­pected of pub­lic rep­re­sen­ta­tives and ANC lead­ers. This is among the most dif­fi­cult of or­gan­i­sa­tional tasks, but we re­main res­o­lute in our ef­forts to stamp out de­viant and ab­hor­rent prac­tices.”

He said the ANC-led gov­ern­ment had taken bold steps to con­front cor­rup­tion and cap­ture through the es­tab­lish­ment of com­mis­sions and changes in the lead­er­ship of state owned com­pa­nies as part of restor­ing pub­lic con­fi­dence.

“We will ap­peal with all hu­mil­ity to the South African peo­ple to once again ex­press their con­fi­dence in the ANC to lead so­ci­ety in pur­suit of shared growth, job cre­ation, rad­i­cal eco­nomic and social trans­for­ma­tion and na­tional unity.”

Ramaphosa said while the ANC was proud of the progress that had been made, it had the duty to ac­knowl­edge that mis­takes, which stalled some ar­eas of trans­for­ma­tion, had been made by the party. “We must ac­knowl­edge that state cap­ture and cor­rup­tion have

weak­ened sev­eral of our pub­lic in­sti­tu­tions, un­der­mined ef­fec­tive governance and con­trib­uted to the poor per­for­mance of our econ­omy. We must also ac­knowl­edge that fac­tion­al­ism and pa­tron­age have di­min­ished the abil­ity of the ANC to lead the process of trans­for­ma­tion and ful­fil its man­date to the peo­ple,” he said.

Ramaphosa spoke of job cre­ation and a trans­formed, in­clu­sive econ­omy.

“We are tasked with re­struc­tur­ing an econ­omy that cur­rently ex­cludes the ma­jor­ity of South Africans.

“We need to mo­bilise do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional in­vest­ment while we work with greater ef­fort to un­leash the eco­nomic po­ten­tial of all our peo­ple – es­pe­cially youth and women – by en­sur­ing they have skills, as­sets, and op­por­tu­ni­ties,” he said.

This would re­quire in­ten­si­fied ef­forts to re­store in­vestor con­fi­dence and the con­fi­dence of the busi­ness sec­tor and con­sumers. Pol­icy con­sis­tency and cer­tainty and root­ing out pub­lic sec­tor cor­rup­tion were piv­otal to restor­ing con­fi­dence, he said, as was im­prov­ing com­pet­i­tive­ness.

“We will de­lib­er­ately and con­sciously use gov­ern­ment’s mas­sive pro­cure­ment spend to fur­ther our eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion ob­jec­tives and sup­port job cre­ation and lo­calised re-in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion,” he said. | Ad­di­tional re­port­ing ANA and Samkelo Mt­shali

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