Thousands of supporters went to hear the new ANC president, Cyril Ramaphosa, speak at the ANC’s 106th celebrations at Buffalo City Stadium in East London yesterday. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency/ANA
ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa and the party’s new national executive committee (NEC) have declared war on state capture, vowing that the investigation and prosecution of those implicated will be prioritised.

Delivering the party’s January 8th statement at East London’s Buffalo City stadium yesterday, Ramaphosa said the ANC wanted to ensure all forms of corruption and state capture were confronted.

He also promised to revamp state owned enterprises and to improve the battered image of public institutions.

“We must work to restore the credibility of public institutions, including state owned enterprises and law enforcement agencies by addressing excessive turnover in senior positions, undue political interference, poor co-ordination and corruption.”

He thanked President Jacob Zuma for announcing the commission of inquiry to probe state capture, saying this would help the country get to the bottom of these allegations.

Ramaphosa had started delivering the speech shortly after the crowd booed Zuma who arrived after proceedings started.

Ramaphosa spoke tough on graft and admonished those who booed Zuma saying the rally was meant as a celebration and “not for other things”. He then used the speech to stamp his authority on the party with much of his speech focusing on fixing the damage experienced by both party and state during Zuma’s two terms at the helm of the ruling party.

Some of the undertakings contained in the NEC January 8 statement include strengthening the appointment procedures for top positions in government, SOEs and in law enforcement agencies.

The speech was also filled with promises for the poor with Ramaphosa promising the creation of 1 million jobs over a three-year-cycle. He also gave an assurance that free higher education would be implemented, adding however that it would be implemented gradually as the “government tries to find money to fund it”.

The economy will also be given priority by the new leadership. While the ANC will push ahead with its economic transformation agenda, Ramaphosa emphasised the need to attract investment.

“Our vision is an economy that encourages and welcomes investment, offers policy certainty and addresses barriers that inhibit growth and social inclusion,” he said.

NEC members hailed Ramaphosa’s statement saying it provided hope that the country’s current state of affairs would change for the better.

Gauteng health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa said the biggest message from the speech was how Ramaphosa would confront the lack of accountability and wrongdoing in government.

“We must turn a new leaf on issues of accountability, on uprooting and being intolerant to corruption,” Ramokgopa said.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi also commended Ramaphosa’s tough talk on corruption saying his address resonated with the thousands of ANC supporters who attended the party’s birthday celebrations. Ramaphosa promised the ANC would be fixed both within and without, including the alliance with Cosatu and SACP, with unity being the key theme.

SACP deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila hailed the speech saying Ramaphosa had shown a commitment to fight the corruption and division that had characterised the ANC since Zuma became leader in 2007.

“We have been always committed to the alliance, but not committed to the corrupt alliance, that is why we said there won’t be unity in corruption,” said Mapaila.