South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said the ruling party, the African National Congress, must work to regain popular support after being embroiled in corruption scandals and divided by fierce factional rivalries
January 8, 2022, 2:56 p.m.
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To mark the 110th anniversary of the ANC on Saturday, Ramaphosa adopted a somber tone, stressing that Nelson Mandela’s party, which helped South Africa achieve democracy, had lost electoral support.
“We must openly acknowledge the reality that the ANC structures are in a bad state and deal with it decisively,” said Ramaphosa as the aspirations of the communities they are to serve. “
The anniversary event in Polokwane in the northern Limpopo province takes place a few days after a state-sponsored judicial investigation revealed how some of the party’s top officials had profited from the corruption.
The ANC is also sharply divided between those who support Ramaphosa, who is also the party’s president, and those who are loyal to former President Jacob Zuma, who has been embroiled in litigation since leaving office in 2018.
Zuma’s refusal to appear before the Commission of Inquiry resulted in his sentencing to 15 months in prison last July, sparking riots that resulted in widespread looting and property destruction in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces . More than 340 people died in the riots.
However, their support has waned in recent years, garnering less than 50% of the vote in the October local elections, the worst performance ever.
Ramaphosa said many who supported the ANC punished it by not voting.
“Many citizens demonstrated their dissatisfaction with the ANC and its performance by staying away from the elections,” he said on Saturday.
The ANC will hold its national election conference later this year, at which Ramaphosa is expected to seek a second term as party leader. But he faces considerable opposition from those who are still loyal to Zuma.
The African National Congress was founded in 1912 to oppose the rule of the white minority and to work to ensure that black South Africans have full democratic rights.
Due to COVID-19 measures that limit outdoor public gatherings to 2,000 people, only 2,000 attended the ANC’s anniversary event.