South Africa’s new ruling-party leader, Cyril Ramaphosa, vowed to fight corruption, revive the struggling economy and restore investor confidence, the latest sign that he’s planning a dramatic shift after years of decline under Jacob Zuma.
“We are resolute in our commitment to make this the year in which we rebuild our movement and turn around the South African economy,” Ramaphosa said in a speech on Saturday to mark the 106th anniversary of the founding of the African National Congress in the southern city of East London. “Our vision is an economy that encourages and welcomes investment, offers policy certainty and addresses barriers that inhibit growth and social inclusion.”
Ramaphosa, 65, took over control of the ANC at the party’s national conference on December 18 from Zuma, whose scandal-tainted tenure as the nation’s president has eroded support for the ANC and led to mounting calls from within its ranks to resign. Speculation has been increasing that Zuma will be toppled before his current terms ends in 2019. Ramaphosa, a lawyer and one of the wealthiest black South Africans, made no reference to taking over the reins of government in his address. He told the crowd of about 20,000 that the ANC’s new leadership was committed to doing things differently.
“The speech did signify that the Jacob Zuma era was largely over,’’ Daniel Silke, director of Cape Town-based Political Futures Consultancy said by phone in Cape Town. “Ramaphosa succeeded in delivering a message of renewal, which will clearly be the ANC’s message over the next year.”
The central bank projects economic growth of just 1.2% this year after the economy went through a recession in 2017, but Ramaphosa said on the campaign trail that he’s targeting 3% expansion.
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