President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses professionals in Sandton, Johannesburg. PHOTO: Getrude Makhafola/ANA

Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday urged professionals to join him in his Thuma Mina campaign and help build South Africa.

Professionals including academics and captains of industry gathered for a dialogue with Ramaphosa. He likened the mix of professionals to the intelligentsia who were fathers and founders of the African National Congress (ANC) in 1912.

"Today you are fired up as you gathered here, otherwise you wouldn't be here," he said to a round of applause.

"As you're gathered here, I can call you the brain trust, the brain trust that was there in 1912 [when the ANC was formed]. 106 years later I can say yes John Langalibalele Dube, yes Pixley Ka Seme and many others...and say today you can safely state you have a replica of people sitting here."

Ramaphosa coined Thuma Mina as part of what he called a "new dawn" in his first State of the Nation Address. 

The campaign is a preparation for next year's elections and will focus on the party listening and actively resolving people's problems, especially those around poor delivery of basic services such as water, sanitation and housing.

The governing party, plagued by factionalism and infighting, is seeking to unite and win South African's hearts ahead of the crucial 2019 elections.

African News Agency/ANA