President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses a rally celebrating the 107th anniversary of the ANC in Durban, January 8 2019. Picture: REUTERS/ROGAN WARD
President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses a rally celebrating the 107th anniversary of the ANC in Durban, January 8 2019. Picture: REUTERS/ROGAN WARD

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday gave a frank assessment of the Jacob Zuma years in government — telling his audience in Pietermaritzburg that “the last few years were really difficult”.

Although the two sought to display a united front in public this week‚ Ramaphosa told ANC supporters in Manor Flats that he spent the most part of 2018 cleaning up Zuma’s mess.

“We’ve been through a difficult past few years‚” he said

“We’ve been through a difficult few years… it was really difficult. Things that were meant to be done well were not done well. Institutions were weakened. In the past year we spent a great deal of time repairing those things that were not done well‚” Ramaphosa said.

He said the first few months of his presidency were spent “rooting out elements that were leading us in the wrong direction‚ in terms of corruption”‚ without mentioning names.

Ramaphosa said the country now had a second chance to rectify what had gone wrong.

The president was on a drive to mobilise people to attend the ANC’s manifesto launch on Saturday and to vote for the ANC in the 2019 elections.

He started his day at the Siqongweni High School where he engaged with students and announced the building of a library‚ computer centre and a mobile laboratory for the students as a result of a government and business collaboration.

During his address at the school‚ Ramaphosa stuck to his message of warning against school dropouts.

At a second event Ramaphosa opened a sports facility‚ developed for nearly R100m by the department of sports and recreation.

“We know things have not been okay in the past but we are rectifying things‚” he told a crowd at Manor Flats, many of whom seemed optimistic when Ramaphosa spoke about jobs and homes.

The president had a short interaction with concerned minority groups from the Pietermaritzburg area‚ where he again called for people to work together with government to change the problems affecting the country.

“The ANC can’t do it alone. We have got to work together to make sure we build the South Africa of our dreams‚” he said.

In his address to ANC supporters‚ mostly women and teenagers‚ in KwaDambuza‚ Ramaphosa said he did not want people in the party who steal public money.

“(Now) in the ANC we want to do things the right way‚” he said.

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