JOHANNESBURG, South African Deputy President and the newly-elected president of the ruling African national Congress (ANC) party, Cyril Ramaphosa, says the ANC must return to its roots and draw on the values of its founders in order to strengthen itself.

Speaking at a wreath-laying ceremony for former ANC president John Langalibalele Dube at Ohlange High School in Inanda in KwaZulu-Natal Province on Monday as part of the party’s 106th anniversary celebrations, he said: We want to go back to the value system that guided their lives so that we root out all of the bad things that have crept into our movement and the body politic of our country.

We are determined to root out corruption in our ranks as it undermines our people. By doing this, we will also be strengthening the ANC.”

Ramaphosa asked the ruling party’s two factions in KwaZulu-Natal to set aside their differences and to work together for the sake of unity in the party. Rival provincial leaders Sihle Zikalala and Senzo Mchunu have shown a united front during the ANC president’s visit to the province on Sunday and Monday.

Ramaphosa referred to Sunday’s event where party Provincial Chairperson Sihle Zikalala and his rival, Senzo Mchunu, shook hands in response to a call by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini.

The ANC president was also joined by the party’s secretary-general Ace Magashule, Treasurer-General Paul Mashatile and national Executive Committee (NEC) member Nkosozana Dlamini-Zuma, who was defeated by Ramaphosa in the battle for the ANC presidency at the party’s election conference last month.

Ramaphosa said as President Nelson Mandela went to report to Dube, the ANC founder, in 1994 that South Africa was free, he wanted to report that they’ve emerged from the 54th elective conference and held a successful conference.

Ramaphosa added that the ANC remained committed to ensuring that women play a significant role in the party and in the country. The ANC has come in for some criticism for having only one woman in the top six of the ruling party’s new NEC.

Earlier, he attended a wreath laying ceremony for Albert Luthuli at Groutville near Stanger on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast.

Meanwhile, ANC deputy president David Mabuza called on party members to throw weight behind president Cyril Ramaphosa.

If Ramaphosa is given support he will succeed in leading the party, Mabuza added when addressing supporters during a wreath-laying ceremony at the tombstone of the late party president, Josiah Gumede, in Pietermaritzburg.

Mabuza pleaded with members of the party to stop factionalism. We have heard what the General Secretary of SACP (the South African Communist Party, a partner of the ANC in the Tripartite Alliance) is saying, and we do acknowledge that the relationship with our alliance (partners) has got challenges, but we will be making it our priority to find each other.

He was accompanied by ANC Chairperson Gwede Mantashe, NEC member Zweli Mkhize and the party provincial leadership.

The ANC is on a campaign to renew and unite itself. Its leaders hailed the late president Gumede for his role in uniting both the party and the tripartite alliance, which also includes the Confederation of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu).

However, SACP General Secretary Blade Nzimande, who also attended the gathering, called on the new ANC leadership to also focus on renewing relations with its alliance partners.

I thought to myself, I would not miss this event to celebrate ANC 106 birthday and celebrate our legend Josiah Gumede. Let me conclude by saying. ‘Comrades, let us not just come to graveyards, lay wreath, then forget about the challenges facing the alliance”. ANC is facing huge challenges. We all know that,” he added.

As SACP, we strongly believe that we have to revisit our relationship with the ANC. We understand there are good things and also there are things we do not agree on.


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