South Africa: Deputy President, Ramaphosa on charm offensive
Ramaphosa told a conference attended by black professionals and academics in Johannesburg that time had come to end the white domination of the South African economy.
Rekindle your love for the African National Congress. The ANC wants your love back if we ever lost it
“We are going to intensify BBBEE (Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment). We are going to sharpen our teeth and determination when it comes to unemployment,” he said. “For far too long this economy has been owned and controlled by white people. That must come to end”.
Ramaphosa’s address was seen by observers as a charm offensive by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) ahead of local government elections later this year.
The country’s main parties are jostling for the emerging black middle class whose support could prove vital in the polls expected in August.
ANC’s main rival – the Democratic Alliance – says it wants wrestle Gauteng Province, the economic hub whose capital is Johannesburg from the ruling party. Ramaphosa appealed to his audience to rally behind the ANC.
“Rekindle your love for the African National Congress. The ANC wants your love back if we ever lost it,” he said. Ramaphosa added rhetorically: “What is it that you are going to do for the movement you love? Are you going to sit on the side?”
Meanwhile, the deputy president dismissed criticism that President Jacob Zuma and the ANC had been ‘captured’ by a wealthy Indian family.
Zuma has been under fire from some ANC veterans and other opponents after a deputy Finance minister Mcebesi Jonas claimed he had been offered his former boss Nhlanhla Nene’s job by the Gupta family.
ANC this week launched investigations into the allegations but Ramaphosa said the ANC was not in the Gupta family’s pockets.
“The ANC is not for sale. And what we will also say is that the ANC refuses to be captured,” he said. “Those who want to capture the ANC and make it their own and influence it to advance personal or corporate interest you have come to the wrong address. Try next door.”
Ramaphosa also said the ruling party was determined to fight corruption in its ranks. “If they breach those core values there must be consequences and accountability,” he said. “We must see that happening. Yes I can hear you, you are all saying when. That moment is now, it is going to happen.”
Ramaphosa is largely seen as a potential candidate to succeed Zuma.