Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma with Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: AFP
Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma with Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: AFP

Cyril Ramaphosa says the ANC’s leaders must unite the party at its elective conference next week.

"Our movement is divided and there are factions," the deputy president said on Thursday night on 702 Talk Radio. "The challenge that we face, particularly going into this conference, is how we are going to unite the ANC and how we will emerge out of this conference united."

The winner from the conference to pick a successor to President Jacob Zuma as the party’s head will be its presidential candidate in the 2019 elections. The election has caused deep rifts within the 105-year-old ANC, weighed on the rand and bonds and unnerved investors seeking political and policy clarity.

Ramaphosa didn’t give an explicit answer during Thursday’s broadcast when asked whether he would, if defeated in the leadership contest, accept the position of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s deputy.

"If, for instance I am not successful to become president, I will have to reflect on whether I should be deployed elsewhere or deployed in the same position," he said. "So, it is going to be a matter in which I am going to want to reflect."

Ramaphosa said the economy could grow at a faster pace and that the government had been diverted by self interest and state capture. The ANC should never allow its policy to be up for sale and he wouldn’t "sell his soul for any interest," Ramaphosa said.

"I believe that our economy is not a 1% or 2% growth economy; I believe it can grow at 4% and we can revitalise our economy if we do the right things," he said. "We have realised that corruption is rife and we are going to address it. We are going to root out corruption and that is a promise I can make."

Former finance ministers Nhlanhla Nene and Pravin Gordhan should return to the government, Ramaphosa said. Zuma’s dismissal of Gordhan in March caused the nation to lose its investment-grade status with two ratings companies for the first time in 17 years.

‘Tossed out’

"I would want all those people back in government service, because they have an unbelievable role to play in helping us develop. Many of those who were just tossed out, were tossed out for reasons other than their lack of competence," Ramaphosa said.

He has won endorsement from more ANC branches than Dlamini-Zuma, giving him an edge in next week’s election. Ramaphosa was nominated for the presidency of the ANC by 1,860 branches, while 1,330 backed his main rival. The branches will nominate delegates who will account for 90% of the 5,240 votes at the conference.

Dlamini-Zuma’s support in regions that will send relatively more delegates to the meeting will boost her chances, Collen Maine, the leader of the ANC’ Youth League — which is backing her for the top position — said in an interview. Another 223 branches in Mpumalanga that have not given a preference yet have been instructed to back Dlamini-Zuma, Business Day reported.

Bloomberg

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