Ramaphosa made it clear that he won’t discriminate between the private and public sectors corruption. As he tackles radical economic transformation, the land question and corruption in the private sector, political analyst Sipho Seepe said Ramaphosa responded to concerns raised about his orientation.
Delivering his maiden speech as ANC president as he closed the party’s 54th national conference at Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg, Ramaphosa called for unity and an end to corruption, which he said it must be fought with the same intensity as the ANC fought poverty and inequality.
His speech left no doubt that he would be acting hard on corruption both in the public and private sectors. In an apparent reference to the state capture, he spoke about critical issues of the state where individuals who targeted state resources for their own interests.
“Given all this we are called up to act against corruption, he said,” he said. He the conference gave them a mandate to fight corruption and promised that they will investigate graft without fear or favour.
He directed his arrow to the party as he said graft must come to an end also within the ANC. The party’s ethics committee’s powers were strengthened to give it teeth to investigate unethical behaviour by party members.
His speech was conciliatory and he reached out to his pre-conference opponent. He paid special tribute to his main contestant, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma commending her for having entered the ANC presidential race as a woman.
He turned former ANC president Jacob Zuma and praised him for the role he played in the liberation and struggle for democracy. Ramaphosa took his time commend Zuma on his achievements in government and including his fight against the HIV scourge.
Ramaphosa promised to apply radical economic transformation in line with the conference resolution. The party also resolved to implement land expropriation without compensation,, move that was meant to address land that was taken away from black people .
“When land was taken away from them poverty became part of our lives.
“If anything that pre-occupied people immensely over the years since 1994, it had been the question of land.
His address revolved around unity saying the delegates had done something special by shunning the politics of slates when they voted for a mix leadership.
“You as delegates you decided you want a united leadership,” he said.
The new leader said in all its structures the ANC must always consider the question of gender equality and generational mix and have more women and youth represented in the party.
He said the time for talk was over but there must be action. “The people of South Africa don’t want words, they want action.
All public representatives would be held accountable for their action. Those elected to public office must humble themselves before the people and serve them.
Seepe said by touching on radical socio-economic transformation he was responding to those who were doubtful about his commitment to this issue. He said he was unapologetic to the land question the extent that he broached the notion of land theft.
Reaching out to Nkosazana Dlamini-Zumas was a masterpiece,” Seepe said.