Johannesburg – Newly elected ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa launched a thinly veiled attack on his predecessor Jacob Zuma during his maiden speech at the party’s national conference on Thursday morning.
Ramaphosa went on the attack, alluding that under his administration the ANC would not be a party of words but a party of action.
“Those who are deployed by our movement should always be a source of pride and not a source of embarrassment. They are deployed so that they can bring us closer to the national democratic society to which we aspire,” he said.
He vowed to eradicate corruption.
Despite his distributed speech mentioning state capture, Ramaphosa failed to mention state capture by name, only saying that the conference dealt with difficulties brought by individuals through the exercise of influence and manipulation of governance.
This, he said, led to the weakening of state-owned enterprises (SOEs).
“We are going to revamp our SOEs. Given all these challenges, we are called upon to act against corruption. We are also called upon to act against collusion and other economic crimes prevalent in both public sector, as well as the private sector.”
On missing Zuma
Ramaphosa delivered his closing address in the wee hours of the morning, with a lot of empty chairs, especially from the area allocated to KwaZulu-Natal delegates who supported his rival, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Highlighting that the party had given its integrity commission teeth to make binding decisions, he said actions of comrades who are deployed to government should always be informed by the interests of its members and not by personal interests.
The party has given its integrity commission teeth, by ensuring its independence and making its decisions binding. In 2016, integrity commission chair and Rivonia trialist Andrew Mlangeni wrote to Zuma, asking him to resign. Zuma refused.
Earlier, the party reiterated a resolution that the ANC is a centre of power.
Analysts are predicting a tense relationship between Zuma as head of state, and Ramaphosa now heading the ANC at Luthuli House.
Quickly after his attack on Zuma, Ramaphosa then praised Zuma for his work on HIV/Aids and his story-telling skills.
He said he would miss Zuma during meetings, but also for bringing sweets.
Watch: Cyril Ramaphosa closes the 54th ANC Elective Conference
Lizeka Tandwa | News24