Home INTERNATIONAL Ramaphosa pledges corruption crackdown in first speech as ANC leader

Ramaphosa pledges corruption crackdown in first speech as ANC leader

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Cyril Ramaphosa
Cyril Ramaphosa: ‘… corruption must be fought with the same intensity
and purpose that we fight poverty, unemployment and inequality.’
Photograph: STR/EPA
New leader, likely to become next president of South Africa, vows to
expedite job creation and speed up land transfer to black peopleCyril Ramaphosa,
the new leader of South Africa’s governing ANC party, has said he aims
to pursue a policy of “radical economic transformation” that will speed
up expropriation of land without compensation and stamp out corruption.

Ramaphosa, a 65-year-old union leader who became a businessman and
is now one of South Africa’s richest people, is likely to become the
country’s next president after elections in 2019, because of his party’s
electoral dominance.

In his maiden speech at the close of a five-day party meeting where
he was elected, Ramaphosa said he would aim to expedite job creation,
improve the lacklustre economy and speed up the transfer of land to
black people.

Two decades after the end of apartheid, the ANC is under pressure to
redress racial disparities in land ownership where white people own most
of the land.

“The expropriation of land without compensation should be among the
mechanisms available to government to give effect to land reform and
redistribution,” Ramaphosa said.

He said the land transfers would be speeded up under the radical
economic transformation program, a vague ANC plan to tackle racial
inequality. His promise to fight rampant corruption and revitalise the
economy has been hailed by foreign investors.

“This conference has resolved that corruption must be fought with
the same intensity and purpose that we fight poverty, unemployment and
inequality,” Ramaphosa said in the early hours of Thursday after a long
delay. “We must also act fearlessly against alleged corruption and abuse
of office within our ranks.”

Ramaphosa, who is South Africa’s deputy president, was elected the
new leader of the African National Congress (ANC) on Monday, succeeding Jacob Zuma as party head after Zuma’s presidency became tainted with corruption allegations.

Ramaphosa’s narrow victory over former cabinet minister and African
Union Commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, 68, is seen as a pivotal
moment for the ANC, which launched black-majority rule under Nelson
Mandela’s leadership 23 years ago but is now deeply divided, with its
image tarnished.

Ramaphosa paid tribute to Zuma in his speech, saying the ANC would
be united despite a fractious campaign. Zuma had backed his ex-wife
Dlamini-Zuma for ANC’s top job.

 

South Africa,
the continent’s traditional powerhouse, has had lethargic growth over
the last six years and the jobless rate stands near record levels.

Ramaphosa also had a warning for corporate executives. “We must
investigate without fear or favour the so-called ‘accounting
irregularities’ that cause turmoil in the markets and wipe billions off
the investments of ordinary South Africans,” he said.

South African furniture retailer Steinhoff has been embroiled in a
scandal over accounting irregularities, which have wiped more than $10bn
(£7.5bn) off its market value over the past two weeks.

THE GUARDIAN

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