SOUTH AFRICAN presidential hopeful Cyril Ramaphosa laid out his stall to union leaders and business yesterday.
The deputy president, who is seeking election as president of the African National Congress (ANC) at December’s party conference, told the National Economic Development and Labour Council that action was needed against corruption that had made “the poor of this country … even poorer.”
“Good governance is a prerequisite for an effective developmental state and more sustained investment,” he said, “both of which are needed to fuel growth and job creation.”
Mr Ramaphosa hailed the recent recovery from recession to 2.5 per cent growth in the second quarter, mostly down to the mining and farming sectors.
“While we have cause for hope, we remain conscious that business confidence is at its lowest level in 32 years,” he said.
“At the same time, our unemployment levels remain little changed, with more than half of our population living below the poverty line.”
Mr Ramaphosa warned that “corruption impedes growth and redistribution.
“We are only now beginning to understand the depth and scale of corporate capture of public institutions and its devastating effect on the economy.
“While many are bewildered by the audacity of some of the alleged schemes, the dreadful reality is that the poor of this country have been made even poorer.”
And he warned that “unless we tackle corruption, patronage and state capture now, we will not be able to radically transform our economy, stimulate growth and create jobs.”
Mr Ramaphosa is a former leader of the National Union of Mineworkers, which is gearing up to fight mining giants over their plans to make 20,000 workers redundant.
He also has several large business interests and is one of South Africa’s richest men.
His campaign to succeed President Jacob Zuma, himself the subject of corruption allegations, has been backed by South African trade union confederation Cosatu.
And he recently spoke at the South African Communist Party’s Congress, where he urged communists to support the alliance with the ANC despite recent rocky relations.
Meanwhile the ANC’s Women’s League and ANC Youth League have declared support for Mr Ramaphosa’s main rival Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, until January the chair of the African Union’s executive.