Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ANC’s Ramaphosa warns against destabilisation as group marks anniversary



ANC’s Ramaphosa warns against destabilisation as group marks anniversary

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
South Africa’s ruling ANC marked its 110th anniversary on January 8 in low-key fashion as the country reels from the devastating fire in parliament, last year’s deadly riots and emerging details of corruption. AFP

ANC’s Ramaphosa warns against destabilisation as group marks anniversary

South Africa’s ruling ANC marked its 110th anniversary on January 8 in low-key fashion as the country reels from the devastating fire in parliament, last year’s deadly riots and emerging details of corruption.

In the stands of a stadium in Polokwane, in northern Limpopo province, a few hundred party members sporting the African National Congress signature yellow, green and black dotted the terraces.

It was a far cry from the noisy and large crowds of supporters traditionally bused in for the annual festivities, thanks to Covid-19 restrictions limiting outdoor gatherings to just 2,000 people.

And the speech from President Cyril Ramaphosa, in which he referred to acts that had had “the effect of subverting our constitutional democracy”, further dampened the party atmosphere.

“These acts include blatant acts of state [corruption] and criminality . . . the concerted campaign of public violence and destruction that took place in July last year, as well as ongoing theft, destruction and obstruction of infrastructure,” Ramaphosa told party loyalists.

“This anniversary takes place just a few days after a devastating fire swept through our parliament in Cape Town.

“The entire country has been shocked, outraged and saddened by the destruction because the institution of parliament is a repository of our democracy – and symbol of democratic stability of our people,” Ramaphosa said.

His government was, he said, “reforming our law enforcement agencies, our security sector, so that it’s better positioned to defend the gains of our democracy”.

The state suffered other setbacks over the past year.

The state security agency was roundly criticised after police stood by watching when the jailing of Ramaphosa’s predecessor Jacob Zuma sparked an orgy of rioting and looting in July that claimed more than 300 lives.

Zuma was sent to prison for refusing to cooperate with corruption investigators.

The party of Nelson Mandela, which led the liberation of South Africa from the shackles of white-minority apartheid rule, has been weakened by historically poor electoral showings, factionalism and corruption.

On January 4, Ramaphosa received a report of more than 800 pages containing nearly four years of testimonies collected by a judicial panel on corruption.

Its authors accuse the ANC of having turned a blind eye to graft in state-owned companies that play a significant role in the South African economy.

Many of the plundered state companies were headed by CEOs whose appointments had been approved by the ANC.

The party had been guilty of ignoring “acts of indiscipline”, he said.

“Those who are guilty of corruption, ill-discipline, factionalism and undermining our democracy find no home” in the ANC, said Ramaphosa.

He hoped the investigators’ recommendations “can help to enhance the fundamental renewal and rebuilding” of the ANC.

In last November’s local elections, most registered voters did not bother to cast votes, and the ANC’s support at the ballot box fell below 50 per cent for the first time ever.

Now party officials are haunted by the possibility of an outright defeat in the 2024 general election.

“The ANC is bleeding,” said party supporter Themba Ubisi, 40, after the celebrations. “Either we renew the party or we perish.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the