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Ramaphosa reflects positivity during Wits dialogue for the upcoming elections

"Even after we achieved this breakthrough, we still knew there was a long process of transforming the country.”

SA President Cyril Ramaphosa remains positive that the ruling party, the ANC, will emerge victorious in the upcoming seventh provincial and national elections.

Ramaphosa was speaking as a guest at the Wits School of Governance Dialogue: In their Voices and through Their Lenses on May 10. He began the conversation by reflecting on the country’s past 30 years.

“Some people may categorise the years in which a country went through horrible periods of racism, oppression, and exploitation.

“Some might also classify it as a miracle, a miracle that people for the longest time thought would never thought would happen.”

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He said it was a journey that took 342 years since the arrival of Europeans in our country, who, on arrival, unleashed a process of dispossession, slavery, and a process of greed and taking what did not belong to them.

Wits School of Governance: Professor Adebayo Olukoshi.

“Following their arrival, the various people of our country resisted, and that resistance took a journey.

“In 1912, they formed their organisation that led the struggle, joined by other organisations until 82 years later, and the battle was won.

“Even after we achieved this breakthrough, we still knew there was a long process of transforming the country.”

Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP)

In the quest for a continuous transformation journey, the ANC presented a roadmap – the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) in 1994.

Ramaphosa explained how the ruling party had been faithful to socio-economic policy and the obstacles confronted by the party since the programme’s inception.

“The programme was more than housing. It was reconstruction from the destruction or rot brought on this country by apartheid. I believe that we have done well through this programme in that we have addressed many of the basic needs of our country. Much more still needs to be achieved and done.”

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He added an aspect that needed working on was the divide in terms of where the wealthy and poor people lived. Many poor people lived far from economic activities, compared to other parts of the world where poor people were near economic activity.

The president said the programme had done quite well in the housing department. “We have succeeded in building 4.6m houses.”

Ramaphosa noted that the party had ensured that there was water available to many people.

“As a water-scarce country, we continue to face challenges with having to import water from other neighbouring countries.”

Water facilities across the SA have also been made available – up to 80% of people have access to water.

“In terms of education, many non-paying fee schools are part of the RDP programme. The development part began and continues.

“It tripped along the way because we did not follow through due to several issues, but we are on course to reboot and reform everything we started with.”


Challenges that arose along the way and what the ANC has been criticised for by opposition parties and general commentators included:

The president said land reform had been a challenge that countries which had gained independence experienced.

“One of the things we did was draft Section 25 of our Constitution, which deals with the issue of land. During the negotiations leading up to the drafting process, the land issue almost led us to a major dispute because negotiating with a party well-entrenched in land ownership led to resistance.”

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Corruption was the second drawback and challenge for the ruling party.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“Corruption was often perpetrated in the public and private sectors, and people thought everyone in the public sector was corrupt.

“Often, it is those who want to advance their business interests and go out of their way to tempt those in the public sector. We must look at corruption through the prism that it is both public and private.”

On how the ANC is tackling corruption, the president said the necessary investigators were doing their jobs and could not speak to that.

“I often say to people who say I am not doing anything about corruption that I enable the National Prosecuting Authority, police and other stakeholders to do their work, empower them and ensure they have all the facilities and independence to carry out their duties.”

Upcoming elections

Ramaphosa commended the process of the past six South African elections.

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“For the past six times, the governing party emerged with a handsome majority, and where I currently am, I feel, sense and smell the same thing will happen with the upcoming elections.

“That is why I never think, dream, or contemplate a coalition.”

He said a clear victory was what he believed would happen as opposed to what analysts and surveys predict.

“Where coalitions have been crafted, and there is no clear majority part, it is difficult and almost unworkable, and has given us a spectre of not even wanting to have a coalition government.”

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