Opposition parties welcome Ramaphosa victory, warn him to deal with Zuma

Andisiwe Makinana
2017-12-19 00:08
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President Jacob Zuma and newly-elected ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Leon Sadiki/City Press ~

Cyril Ramaphosa’s election as ANC president has been welcomed by opposition parties represented in Parliament and they are calling on him to spearhead President Jacob Zuma’s recall from office.

They also want Ramaphosa to act on the high court judgment regarding the appointment of the national director of public prosecutions and push for the establishment of a state capture judicial inquiry.

The official opposition, the Democratic Alliance, claimed Ramaphosa’s election was too little too late. DA leader Mmusi Maimane said it meant very little for the people of South Africa who have been left behind in poverty and joblessness.

“The ANC is dead and cannot self-correct, no matter who is at the helm. This is because the party itself is held together only by the glue of patronage and corruption, and Cyril Ramaphosa is just a new face to the same old ANC,” said Maimane.

He accused Ramaphosa of having stood by in Zuma’s shadow for years, “silent in the face of his crimes and the crimes of fellow ANC comrades”.

Maimane also poured water on the election of David Mabuza as Ramaphosa’s deputy, saying as the premier of Mpumalanga, Mabuza presided over a collapsing province, characterised by maladministration and corruption, while keeping people in poverty.

Maimane called on Ramaphosa to recall Zuma as the president of the republic, prosecute him for corruption charges and jail him if he is found guilty.

The African Christian Democratic Party’s Kenneth Meshoe congratulated Ramaphosa on his election and sought to remind the newly elected ANC leadership about meeting the needs of the poor in the country instead of feeding and enriching those elected to power.

“We call upon them to investigate the looting of state resources that has been taking place in government, to bring it to an end and to ensure that those involved will be apprehended, charged and prosecuted.”

Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald warned that Ramaphosa had a steep road ahead and the manner in which he addresses South Africa’s challenges will determine “if he will succeed in saving South Africa from further decline and ruin”.

“In the short term, Ramaphosa’s election will boost investors’ confidence and may even prevent a further downgrade to junk status, but if he wants to gain confidence in the long run, he will have to take some drastic steps,” said Groenewald.

These would include recalling Zuma from office before February 2018 and delivering the State of the Nation Address himself.

“As president of the country, he will have to take decisive action and appoint the legal commission to investigate state capture, as was recommended in the report by the former Public Protector,” said Groenewald.

“If Ramaphosa does not recall Zuma, his hands will essentially be tied behind his back and Zuma will have one court case after another so as to keep plundering state assets and ensure that all the rotten-apple ministers are retained,” he added.

ANC alliance partner Cosatu, which championed Ramaphosa’s campaign, said it hoped the new leadership collective will work to restore the unity and cohesion of the ANC and also rebuild the confidence and hope of the people ahead of the national elections in 2019.

“Cosatu wants to warn the new leadership of the ANC though that our support for the ANC is not a blank cheque and we expect them to deal with the issues that are killing the economy, like state capture and corruption.

“This new leadership collective has a mammoth task of healing the deep divisions that have widened over the last 10 years. We expect them to work hard to rid the organisation of factionalism and corruption that has threatened to collapse this more than a century old organisation and ultimately derail our revolution,” said Cosatu in a press statement.

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