State and governing African National Congress (ANC) President Cyril Ramaphosa has said corruption, state capture and graft have weakened the party and its allies – the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the Congress of South Trade Unions (Cosatu).
Ramaphosa was on Sunday delivering the keynote address at the Raymond Mhlaba memorial lecture held at the Mzala Nxumalo region in Vryheid, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).
Ramaphosa spoke out against the contestation of positions within the party with the intent of milking public resources.
He called for an end to corruption and for those elected to work for communities to duly perform their task.
The president said corruption is “in the way of” growing the country’s economy, creating employment and the alleviation of poverty.
“Corruption has weakened the ANC and its allies,” Ramaphosa said, adding that it will destroy the governing party.
Ramaphosa urged party members to emulate the honesty, humility, discipline, passion and commitment of the party’s veterans such as Mhlaba, former state and ANC president Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Harry Gwala and SACP leader Chris Hani.
He called for unity not only within the ANC but in the country as well.
Ramaphosa noted that the ANC’s 2017 Nasrec conference – which resulted with his election as party president beating Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma – tasked the leadership elected at the time with unifying and renewing the governing party.
Ramaphosa said the party should rid itself of factions within its ranks, saying, “we must be people of the African National Congress and we must no belong to anybody”.
The party president said the ANC in KZN serves as a good example of unity, considering that ahead of the Nasrec conference there had been divisions based on support for those vying for the presidency of the governing party but thereafter the province not only rallied behind its at the time newly elected national leader but elected a unified leadership in KZN.
Ramaphosa commended the party’s branches in KZN, saying they are functional, work and are in the forefront of addressing issues within the community.
“An ANC branch must be the heartbeat of the community,” Ramaphosa said, adding that this was happening in KZN.
He urged the party to strengthen its branches ahead of the 2021 local government elections.
“We must work tirelessly to serve our people,” Ramaphosa said, adding that the party should strengthen its bonds with communities.
He called for an end to patronage, gatekeeping and vote-buying within the party.
Ramaphosa said the governing party should conceive solutions that would result in economic growth and addressing the high levels of unemployment in the country, which mostly affects young people.
Ramaphosa said the youth should be equipped with skills so that they would be employable and participate in the economy.
On the issue of land, Ramaphosa said: “The land must come back to the land of our people, right now.”
Ramaphosa said “by resolving the land issue” the country would grow its economy, adding that land expropriation without compensation will be done in accordance with the law and the constitution.
The ANC president said radical economic transformation, a concept that, arguably, became popular during his predecessor’s tenure – Jacob Zuma, should be about working towards growing the country’s economy and creating jobs.
Ramaphosa confirmed that a state bank will be established, a matter he mentioned in his recent state of the nation address.