ANC presidential hopeful Cyril Ramaphosa told his supporters in the Vaal that he was “over” the upcoming elective conference and his focus was now on the 2019 national elections.
Brimming with confidence, Ramaphosa did not speak much about the December conference, but spoke instead about the desperate need to rebuild the ANC, which he said had lost the plot.
“Where I’m standing now, I’m over 2017...I’m now in 2019. We’re done with 2017 and the ANC must focus on 2019,” he said.
Addressing a packed hall at the Saul Tsotetsi Sports Complex in Sebokeng, Gauteng, yesterday, Ramaphosa kept away from speaking as a contender in the fiercely contested ANC presidential race.
In a veiled attack on President Jacob Zuma, Ramaphosa listed all the things that needed to be made right, including the looting of state-owned entities such as Eskom and Transnet, as well as widespread corruption.
“People stole money that was taken to certain families...money has been going out without receipts. Theft in parastatals must end...those who stole must be fired and the money that was stolen must be recovered,” he said.
Ramaphosa said the “ANC seems to have lost its way in the past few months”, but said it was up to the individual branches to correct this.
“The ANC doesn’t belong in fancy offices – it belongs to our people; the branches. It is in your hands to rebuild, renew, reclaim, reshape and do everything ‘R’ with the ANC.
"It is now in your hands to decide what kind of ANC you want to see after the December conference. However, what we know is that we need to build the ANC and ensure that we win the elections in 2019,” he said.
“There is still a lot to be done, but we can only achieve the ideals and aspirations set out in the Freedom Charter when the ANC is strong and united.”
He also warned against cash-for-votes ahead of the conference.
“There are those who carry bags of money and envelopes. ANC branches must say to them, ‘we’re not for sale’,” he said.
Ramaphosa said that “talking time is over”.
“This is the time to implement decisions taken. We’ve been crafting policies forever and we must now implement them,” he said.
He added: “We’ve been at each other’s throats [ahead of the December conference]...we’ve been doing things to each other.
"I say, now, let’s ensure the ANC is united, renewed and strengthened...if the ANC can put our people first, we’ll get more than 70% in the 2019 election”.
He also took some time to honour Sindiso Magaqa, saying the late former ANC Youth League secretary was a “young lion whose promising life was cut short by evil men who are hell-bent on causing havoc and destroying the ANC”.
“We join the calls made to our police that they should not only find those who killed Magaqa, but also those who are in the business of appointing criminals to serve them.
"Our people are crying out for justice, for peace and an end the killing fields of KwaZulu-Natal,” he said.