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By Zanele Mbengo

Journalist


Ramaphosa confident in second term despite challenges

President Ramaphosa defends his record and outlines plans for a second term despite opposition from political analysts.


President Cyril Ramaphosa is confident he will return for a second term as president of South Africa and pledged to move the country forward despite facing “headwinds.”

One such headwind was state capture, Ramaphosa told 702.

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“We had state capture to deal with, which, by the way, we have stopped. It was an overriding process that weakened our state-owned enterprises such as the criminal justice in ways that had really debilitated Eskom, Transnet and Prasa, as good examples,” he said.

“The second one was Covid, which descended on us soon after the sixth administration started.

“Then we had the floods, then the unrest in July 2021, and gender-based violence (GBV) was also on a high during my term,” he said.

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Ramaphosa said GBV “really reared its head to a point where we had to heed the cries of the women of this country”.

‘Ramaphosa has taken us to new levels of mediocrity’

But political analyst Sandile Swana said there had not been a positive new dawn but that “Ramaphosa has taken us to new levels of mediocrity”.

The country has reached “a new level of unemployment, inequality and regression in the educational outcomes of the African and the coloured communities, load shedding and every other problem,” Swana said.

The gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate under Ramaphosa was worse than under former president Jacob Zuma, he said.

“GDP growth rate was probably the worst since 1960. Ramaphosa is worse than Zuma and former president Thabo Mbeki.

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“In terms of unemployment, Ramaphosa added unemployed young graduates. So, for especially the educated youth, he has worsened their position as youth unemployment grows,” Swana said.

“We are now ranked number seven in the world in terms of organised crime. Our corruption index has worsened. On a number of international benchmarks, we are worse off under Ramaphosa.”

Ramaphosa on Zuma

While on air, the president also addressed inquiries regarding the delay in the ANC’s response to Zuma’s initiation of the new political party, uMkhonto weSizwe, while remaining an ANC member – a violation of the ruling party’s constitution.

“We have to follow the prescripts of our constitution that anybody who is a member must be given due process and they must go through the various processes of hearings and representation. And that is what we followed,” Ramaphosa said.

He acknowledged certain decisions could have been made sooner. “We took the decision to put him through a disciplinary process, and that is what we have done.

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“What we should really be found guilty of is following our constitution – and that I will concede,” the president said.

System needed to be changed

Lesiba Teffo, another political analyst, believes not much can be expected under the current political leadership. It was the system that needed to be changed.

“Infrastructure is worse off today than it was five years ago. Rail infrastructure, school systems, crime and unemployment.

“Nothing has worked under Ramaphosa’s leadership,” Teffo said.

There was no doubt the president would get a second term, he said.

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“There is no doubt about that. Even if the ANC were to lose power at national level – which it is very likely to – the ANC will still be dominant enough to form a government,” Teffo said.

According to Ramaphosa, he will serve his second term: “I will be voted back into power and I will serve my full term.

“And serve is the operative word; serve the people of South Africa,” he said.