ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa says if the ruling party does not act against the factionalism, gate-keeping and allegations of corruption that is crippling the ANC, it could lose power in 2019.
Speaking at the Babs Madlakane Hall in Uitenhage on Sunday afternoon, which was packed with ANC, SACP and Cosatu supporters calling for him to take over the presidency, Ramaphosa said the ruling party would not be able to effect change for its people if it is voted out of power.
“We are no longer the leaders of society. Society is walking away from us. We have become an organisation riddled with factions despite the good work of cadres in various spheres,” he said.
He was the keynote speaker delivering the Chris Hani memorial lecture where he was welcomed with open arms by hundreds of supporters who want him to take over from Zuma.
He said the upcoming national elective conference in December is the opportune time for the party to renew itself and unite its members against a culture of name-calling, insults and disruptions.
Ramaphosa admitted to the audience that he had a sense that critical decisions are being made elsewhere aimed at the interests of individuals.
When later asked which individuals he was referring to, Ramaphosa said a number of allegations had been made in the public domain about state capture which has to be investigated and dealt with through a judiciary of inquiry.
While strong calls were made from the crowd, SACP and Cosatu speakers for President Jacob Zuma to step down, Ramaphosa danced around the issue and would not confirm if he would accept a nomination to stand as party president in December.
He said it would be premature to do so when the nomination process only officially kicks off in July, and said he “notes” the strong calls from various organisations and civil society for Zuma to step down.
He raised concerns about the death threats leveled against senior ANC members Lindiwe Sisulu and Makhosi Khoza.
“When her (Sisulu) name surfaced, mine too surfaced. It’s worrying,” Ramaphosa said.
He said he was not threatened directly but heard his name was on a list of those targeted.
The crowd erupted as Ramaphosa and former finance deputy minister Mcebisi Jonas entered the hall. Earlier, Jonas described the recent term ‘radical economic transformation’ as ‘radical economic looting.’
He said a new type of politics has entered the political arena which threatens to undermine the constitution and institutions like the police, the NPA and other state owned entities.
“We have a country being stolen before our very eyes. We are facing a coup, “It is too easy for us to see each aspect of state capture as separate but the truth is that state capture equals stealing our country,” Jonas said