A sweet-talking President Cyril Ramaphosa took a hard-line against those in his party facing allegations of corruption saying they will not be allowed to hold positions of power within the ANC, government or Parliament.
Kicking off his final address ahead of the crucial May 8 polls, Ramaphosa turned on the charm, making a unitary call to all South Africans to place their hope in the ANC.
He hailed the moment as a ‘decisive’ one in which South Africans had to choose between the “past and the future”, “hope over despair”, “progress over stagnation” and “growth over decline”.
But his voice rose as he turned his attention to corruption, saying the ANC would not “surrender our freedom to corruption and state capture.”
“We will not submit and we will not retreat,” he said.
His comments come amid a strident fightback from those implicated in corruption within the ANC, including its secretary general Ace Magashule and his allies.
“Determined those found guilty of corruption and state capture will not be allowed to occupy positions of power in ANC, government or Parliament… The time for impunity is over. It is now a period of accountability of consequence management,” Ramaphosa said.
“The road ahead is long still much to be done. Expect resistance from those implicated but let there be no doubt that those responsible will be held to account because we have to restore the rule of law.”
He said he would fight to ensure those who occupy positions of authority served only the public interest and not their own pockets.
He cited some interventions to address corruption already in place but stressed that the road ahead was long.
“But the road ahead is long… We should expect resistance from those who have benefited from wrongdoing.
“But let there be no doubt — those responsible for state capture and corruption will be held to account.
We are restoring the rule of law.”
Ramaphosa said the police and prosecutors would be strengthened and their “independence assured” so that they can act “without fear and favour”.
“The era of impunity is over. We are now entering the era of accountability.
We are now entering the era of consequence management,” he said.
His address centred on the interaction between the ANC and communities on the campaign trail and how the ANC planned to respond to the challenges identified, namely employment, housing, healthcare and education.
Read Ramaphosa’s full speech below: