South African Deputy President Says ‘Rot Has Set In’ at ANC

  • Corruption must be rooted out, Ramaphosa says in Uitenhage
  • Ramaphosa supports a judicial inquiry into state capture

A crisis has emerged in South Africa and “the rot has set in” within the ruling African National Congress, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday.

“Corruption must be rooted out” and anyone found guilty must be dealt with severely, Ramaphosa said at a memorial for the late ANC leader Chris Hani in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province. Allegations of families and people unduly influencing government appointments and contracts should be “of great concern” to the ANC, he said, adding that he supports a judicial commission of inquiry into charges of state capture.

Cyril Ramaphosa

Source: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Ramaphosa, one of the front-runners to succeed President Jacob Zuma at an ANC conference in December, was speaking just 3 1/2 weeks after Zuma fired Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and named a lawmaker without Treasury experience as his replacement. In response, S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings Ltd. downgraded the nation’s debt to junk on concerns about policy continuity and political instability.

Last year, the nation’s graft ombudsman implied that Zuma had allowed the Johannesburg-based Gupta family to influence cabinet appointments and the issuing of state contracts. Zuma and the Guptas deny the allegations.

Reckless Talk

The politics of patronage have become widespread and Zuma’s cabinet reshuffle heightened tensions within the ANC, Ramaphosa said. Instead of speaking out “recklessly,” the ANC’s members must unite ahead of the December conference to settle questions on policy and make sure it doesn’t lose more support in elections, he said.

While the ANC is currently “riddled with factions,” there is reason to hope, he said at the event in Uitenhage. “We must honestly own up to the problem. Strange practices must be brought to an end.”

Zuma has said that the party is ready to be led by a woman, which has widely been seen as an endorsement of his ex-wife and mother of four of his children, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, as his successor when his term as head of the ANC ends in December.

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