Cyril Ramaphosa, one of two leading candidates contesting for the presidency of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress, said its leaders must unite the party after this month’s elective conference.
“Our movement is divided and there are factions,” Ramaphosa, the country’s deputy president, said in a Thursday late-night program on Johannesburg-based 702 Talk Radio. “The challenge that we face, particularly going into this conference, is how we are going to unite the ANC and how we will emerge out of this conference united.”
The winner from the Dec. 16-20 conference to pick a successor to President Jacob Zuma as the party’s head will be its presidential candidate in the 2019 elections that are set to be the toughest since Nelson Mandela led the party to power at the end of apartheid in 1994. The election has caused deep rifts within the 105-year-old ANC, weighed on the rand and nation’s bonds and unnerved investors seeking political and policy clarity.
Ramaphosa’s strongest rival for the position is Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, a former chairwoman of the African Union Commission and Zuma’s ex-wife. Ramaphosa didn’t give an explicit answer during Thursday’s broadcast when asked whether he would, if defeated in the leadership contest, accept the position of Dlamini-Zuma’s deputy.
“If for instance, I am not successful to become president, I will have to reflect on whether I should be deployed elsewhere or deployed in the same position,” he said. “So, it is going to be a matter in which I am going to want to reflect.”
Ramaphosa said the South African economy could grow at a faster pace and that the government had been diverted by self-interest and state capture, a local term for the undue influence over the state by private interests. The ANC should never allow its policy to be up for sale and he wouldn’t “sell his soul for any interest,” Ramaphosa said.
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