“The ANC is panicking, which is why even people like Cyril Ramaphosa are using the race card,” Democratic Alliance spokesman Mmusi Maimane said in a statement.
“As Jacob Zuma’s ANC sees its power slipping, it appeals more and more to tired racial insinuations and the supernatural to convince supporters to stick with them.
“First it was the fires of hell. Now it is the ghosts of the apartheid regime that are being invoked to scare voters into staying with a party that deserted them a long time ago,” Maimane said.
He said the politics of fear should make way for a new politics of hope. The Star reported on Monday that Ramaphosa had urged Limpopo residents to vote or the “boers” would take back power.
“If you don’t vote, the boers will come back to control us,” Ramaphosa apparently said in Seshego.
He was speaking to disgruntled resident Johanna Phala, 49, who had vowed not to vote in next year’s elections because the African National Congress had disappointed her.
The unemployed single mother of three blamed the high unemployment rate on the ANC and said she had lost hope in the party.
Ramaphosa asked her to reconsider her anger towards the ANC-led government. He was in Seshego, the hometown of Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema, to drum up party support.
“If all South Africans don’t vote, we will regress. The boers will come back to control us,” he was quoted as saying. The Freedom Front Plus called Ramaphosa’s alleged comments racist.
“Apart from the fact that such a statement is not based on any real facts, it is also racist and polarising,” FFPlus leader Pieter Mulder said in a statement.
“It is clear from this how deep in trouble the ANC is with their impatient voters. Because Mr Ramaphosa is second in charge of the ANC, these remarks cannot be lightly dismissed.”