ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa criticized those who left the governing party to form splinter parties, which he believes are intended to weaken support for South Africa’s governing party.
Ramaphosa spoke to the liberation movement’s members and supporters at the Mbombela Stadium in Mpumalanga, where he gave his January 8th Statement to celebrate the ANC’s 112th anniversary.
According to him, numerous forces are working against the ANC, attempting to remove it from power by forming alliances.
Ramaphosa’s statement comes weeks after his predecessor, former ANC leader Jacob Zuma, launched his new party, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), in Soweto and vowed never to campaign for “the ANC of Ramaphosa”. Zuma is believed to be working with other left-wing parties to reduce the ANC’s electoral support to below 50 per cent and dislodge Ramaphosa from power.
Ramaphosa passionately defended the ANC’s three decades in power, asserting their legitimate use of past achievements to seek reelection.
He said the ANC-led government has been successful in increasing the number of South Africans who are dependent on the state for their livelihood, which he believes is an improvement over the apartheid era.
“One of the most direct actions by our government has been the provision of an effective social security net. In 1999, only 2.5 million people had access to social relief. In other words, they got some social assistance from the government. Today, more than 18 million South Africans in our country receive social relief from the government. The R350 introduced during Covid has increased the number by another 8 to 10 million, meaning that, easily, 28 million South Africans get assistance from the ANC-led government to deal with poverty. That is one of the great achievements of the government and to help our people deal with poverty. Amandla!” said Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa stated that before 1994, there were fewer women in parliament when compared to 2024.
“Over the last 30 years, the ANC-led government has made tremendous strides in empowering women. It is largely due to the ANC’s decision that women must be equally represented in all public institutions that currently more than 45% of the seats in parliament are held by women. In apartheid South Africa, fewer than 3% of MPs were women.
“The ANC has given effect to its policy to have no less than 50% women representation in all decision-making structures. Our task now is to ensure that representation translates into meaningful and positive change in the lives of all women. In a democratic South Africa, women are no longer second class citizens,” he said.
Ramaphosa highlighted the positive impact of transformational programs on the youth in South Africa.
He mentioned that the ANC has also made strides in enhancing the government’s rapport with workers, in collaboration with their trade union ally, Congress of South African Trade Unions.
“Despite persistent challenges, the South African economy has expanded over the past 30 years. The number of South Africans in employment increased from 8 million in 1994 to 16.7 million now. The ANC-led government put in place policies and laws that have enabled farmers and agribusinesses to build a resilient, competitive and inclusive agriculture and food system.
South Africa’s agriculture and food strategy has been premised on bringing new aspirant black farmers to create an inclusive and stable sector; securing new trade agreements to expand production and generate foreign earnings; and balancing the introduction of technologies with job creation to safeguard employment. Because of these strategic interventions in agriculture, the value of South African agricultural output more than doubled between 1994 and 2023, and employment in the sector is currently at its highest level since 1994,” he said.
In a scathing critique of the opposition, he accused them of observing emerging factions that aim to weaken the ANC.
“The fundamental question for this year, the 30th anniversary of our freedom, is whether South Africa’s transformation from an apartheid, colonial, patriarchal and divided past may be halted or reversed, or whether the democratic renewal, national rejuvenation and socio-economic transformation agenda shall gain new impetus. We know that there are social and political forces that are working very hard to undermine the gains of freedom made over the last three decades.
“They want to stop the march towards a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous country that truly belongs to all. The anti-transformation forces are converging into pacts, while at the same time seeking to fragment the forces for change through splinter groups and small parties that will contest the ANC. Another anti-transformation tactic is to ensure that the ANC is locked up in internal struggles that will weaken the ANC and destroy it from within. They actively encourage rebel break-away groupings to erode the support base of the ANC,” said Ramaphosa.
He strongly disputed the agenda of splinter parties, suggesting that their concern for the nation was insincere.
“Often these comrades start as factional conflicts within the ANC, but when the movement pushes ahead with its renewal, they start changing into opposition parties that are as opposed to the ANC as the right-wing opponents of transformation. In fact, they even become worse than those right-wing opposition parties because they come through as real snakes that are ready to bite our people. Some of these parties masquerade as more radical than the ANC, but their revolutionary-sounding slogans and rhetoric cannot hide the reality that they have common cause with the forces opposing transformation. The shared goal of all these forces is to deprive the ANC of the ability to use state power to continue with the process of change and transformation.”
Ramaphosa added: “The onslaught against transformation should make us more determined this year to succeed in building a better life for all and to be more deliberate and resolute about the renewal of the ANC, the broad democratic forces and our society. When they look at us they say it is over with the ANC. When they look at us they say we are going to get less than 50% and others say less than 30%. They don’t know us. Let them come, we are challenging them to come to the elections. They think it is easy and that they will be able to govern this country. They will feel our power.”