Johannesburg - Cyril Ramaphosa's election as president of the African National Congress (ANC) on Monday, is too little too late for South Africa's ruling party, opposition party the Democratic Alliance's (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane said.
"The election of Cyril Ramaphosa as ANC president is too little too late for the ANC, and means very little for the people of South Africa who have been left behind in poverty and joblessness. The ANC is dead and cannot self-correct, no matter who is at the helm," he said in a statement.
"This is because the party itself is held together only by the glue of patronage and corruption, and Cyril Ramaphosa is just a new face to the same old ANC. The future of South Africa lies outside of the ANC. It is up to the voters to bring about total change by removing the ANC in 2019 and ushering a new beginning for our country."
Ramaphosa was announced as the new president of the ANC at the ruling party’s 54th national conference in Nasrec, Johannesburg. Ramaphosa went head-to-head with former cabinet minister and African Union Chairwoman, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Dlamini-Zuma received 2261 votes against Ramaphosa’s 2440.
Maimane said that Ramaphosa was leading a "deeply divided" organisation which has "evolved into a self-serving party" that forgot the the poor and the jobless.
"The truth is, no matter who leads the ANC, cabinet and policy direction is determined by the party, and it has been these ANC policies that have sought to withdraw South Africa from the International Criminal Court (ICC), kept poor people locked out of the economy, captured the mining sector, chased after an unaffordable Nuclear Deal, and increased unemployment with now over nine million South Africans without a job," he said.
"Ramaphosa has stood in Jacob Zuma’s shadow for years, silent in the face of his crimes and the crimes of fellow ANC comrades. His election means that the corrupt system that is oppressing South Africans will continue."
Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza, who had been squarely in Dlamini-Zuma’s camp, beat Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu with 2,538 votes to 2,159 in the race for the deputy presidency of the party.
Outgoing secretary general Gwede Mantashe was elected as chairman of the party. His former position went to Free State Premier Ace Magashule. Long-time Zuma loyalist Jessie Duarte was re-elected deputy secretary general while Paul Mashatile, a former Gauteng premier and arts minister has become treasurer-general.
Maimane said that Ramaphosa relied on Mabuza to secure a marginal victory.
"As Premier of Mpumalanga, Mabuza has presided over a collapsing province, characterised by maladministration and corruption, while keeping people in poverty.
"Even before being elected ANC Deputy President in 2012, Ramaphosa’s political career has been one of silence towards corruption in government. He has shown no willingness or ability to fight corruption and State Capture. While serving as Jacob Zuma’s Deputy President since 2014, he sat silently on the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) while the ANC looted the state and stole money from the people of South Africa."
Maimane said Ramaphosa's first act as president of the ANC is to recall Zuma as the country's president and to prosecute him for his corruption charges.
"If he fails to do so, Ramaphosa will show South Africa that the leaders in the ANC are all friends, and they practice their corruption together."
African News Agency/ANA