Campaign over, its time to unify the ANC, but…
By John Eche
Days after securing a cliff-edge win in South Africa’s very contentions electoral Conference of the ruling ANC, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is playing the balancing act.
The new leader of the 105-year old ANC, who by current estimation is very likely to become the next president of South Africa, has paid tribute to President Jacob Zuma and other leaders of the party, even as he yet vows to expedite work on issues of job creation and speed up land transfer to black people.
But in a line that is surely going to rankle in some top quarters, the new ANC helmsman declared: ‘… corruption must be fought with the same intensity and purpose that we fight poverty, unemployment and inequality.’
This will surely not be comforting news for President Jacob Zuma, who is fighting almost eight hundred charges of impropriety in office.
And apparently responding to the imperative of uniting the ANC through broadening the programmes thrust of the two factions that fought themselves almost to a standstill at the conference, Ramaphosa says he will pursue a policy of “radical economic transformation” that will speed up expropriation of land without compensation and stamp out corruption.
The 65-year-old union leader who became a businessman and is now one of South Africa’s richest men, is billed to fly the ANC flag in the general elections in 2019.
Ramaphosa is likely to run against the likes of Mmusi Maimane of the Democratic Alliance and Julius Malema of the Economic Freedom Fighters in the forthcoming polls.
While observers appreciate the need to unify the ANC ahead of the polls, there is however concern that this may be done at the expense of the best interests of the long-suffering people of South Africa, many of whom have continued to wait endlessly for the promised gains of the end of apartheid rule.
Cyril Ramaphosa, ANC leader and 2019 presidential contender