CAPE TOWN - President Cyril Ramaphosa sat down with eNCA's Jane Dutton in an exclusive interview on Monday night.
#TonightWithJaneDutton had its first episode premier tonight on eNCA and had the president as its first guest.
One of the first things Dutton brought up in her interview with the president was the new optimism and sentiment among South Africans in the ANC and in the Ramaphosa presidency.
Dutton looked at the new iPsos poll that saw a majority (60%) of South Africans polled (more than 3000) showed support for the ANC and Ramaphosa.
The rekindling of optimism in Ramphosa and the ANC can be attributed to confidence and trust building within the ANC, said Ramaphosa.
When asked about corruption, the president said "Corruption is one of the key issues concerning South Africans. Our people want a government that is there to serve them and spend their money correctly. Corruption is a cancer that will break the body politic of our country apart. We must tackle corruption with determination."
Dutton also asked the president about the current VBS scandal. Ramaphosa said: "The #VBSBank story shocked all of us. What is happening is a shame to the country as a whole. We have to deal with the situation and deal with those responsible in terms of the law. We have to ensure that the depositors don't lose their money. Money was stolen from our people."
On the major issues of the VAT increase and the steep petrol hikes, Ramaphosa told Dutton: This was the most difficult budget for government to put together. We are looking at measures to soften the blow from the increases in fuel price hikes & VAT increases. We have to cut corruption & wastage. Growth is around the corner, we will be able to alleviate these burdens.
When it comes to SMMEs the president said that SMMEs are the backbones of many economies around the world. Our past ensure that SMMEs were suppressed. We are determined to open pathways for SMMEs & we are working to ensure that we strengthen incubation hubs to strengthen township business with access to skills and markets
As government, we know very well that we have to support SMMEs and black industrialists. We must grow and empower this sector so that they can fly on their own. Incubation works very well. We must give SMMEs support and a good start and let them fly.
Land was also a major hot topic within the interview. The president told Dutton that "we have clear parameters of implementing the #ANC54 resolution on land. Our people are hungry for land. Giving our people land will unlock growth, as government we will embark on an agrarian revolution that will empower our people to contribute to the country's economy."
"I said to the King (His Majesty Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu) we are not targeting the land under the Ingonyama Trust. We have to have a discussion with our traditional leaders. They hold assets on behalf of our people and have a role to play. We want all our people to have similar right as embedded in our Constitution."
"We reject the notion that all land should be under the state. We need to perfect the right that people have to land. Security of tenure is what our people want. As a modern and listening organisation we responded positively & we are going to expropriate land without compensation."
"We've been talking to business. Many of them have said we are willing to sit down and hand over land and are also prepared to give support and assist those who will receive the land. Businesses are willing participants, they are coming forward to be part of a solution."
When it comes to the growth of our economy Ramaphosa said that SA's infrastructure base is good to attract investors but more must be done to improve the lives of the South African people so that people don't spend a large portion of their income on transport costs.
"We need reliable cheap transportation for our people to move around."
Ramaphosa added that South Africa aspires to be a "middle-income economy where workers have a living wage and good living standards."
The president said that "we say to investors they will not find cheap labour here, but they will find a workforce that is highly productive and better skilled. We are well placed to attract investors."
When questioned over the Marikana Massacre by Dutton, the president said that "Marikana should never have happened. While we must seek closure on Marikana, our memory should remain engaged with it so that it may never happen again. I am deeply saddened by what happened in Marikana."
Ramaphosa said that there have been discussions around addressing the tragedy that happened Marikana.
"It would be best to clean this all up. There are processes that are currently under way and when we do go to Marikana, we must do so to effectively bring closure and to heal those wounds."
Thank you for watching and thanks to the team at eNCA for hosting the interview. pic.twitter.com/4U8k5Wgjz5
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