President and ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa gestures as he addresses white voters in Sandton, Johannesburg, April 4 2019. Picture: WIKUS DE WET/AFP
President and ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa gestures as he addresses white voters in Sandton, Johannesburg, April 4 2019. Picture: WIKUS DE WET/AFP

President Cyril Ramaphosa says his administration is committed to fighting corruption no matter who is implicated.

Speaking to residents in Sandton on Thursday night as part of the ANC’s campaign ahead of the May 8 election, Ramaphosa, however, said he could not act like a dictator and start arresting people.

“We function in terms of the rule of law.… We can’t just go barging in, we need to find out the truth,” he said, referring to the numerous commissions of inquiry he has established.

About a month is left before the national and provincial elections and the ANC is maintaining a heavy presence in Gauteng,  considered a key battleground.

The province is the biggest single contributor to SA’s GDP.

The president’s comments come at a time when the governing ANC is facing criticism for including candidates implicated in allegations of state capture and corruption on its candidate lists for national and provincial legislatures.

Ramaphosa, who became the ANC president on a clean-up ticket, told the residents that action would be taken to correct wrong deeds.

He spoke about his interventions, such as appointing a new national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) and a new SA Revenue Service commissioner.

Ramaphosa said with NDPP Shamila Batohi at the helm of the NPA, he believed that people would be prosecuted and held accountable.

“If there must be jail time there must be jail time… [But] this won’t be done by pursuing people because we don’t like them,” he said.

Speaking about the state capture inquiry, Ramaphosa said that once former deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo had completed his work and released his findings, relevant law enforcement agencies would take action. “All of this will be done in terms of the rule of law.

“My administration is irrevocably committed to fighting corruption. It will be fought without any fear, favour or prejudice,” he said.

The president answered a number of questions from the floor on Thursday night, where he was asked about a time when he felt this judgment had been tested.

He referred to the time that current public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan was fired as finance minister together with his deputy Mcebisi Jonas by former president Jacob Zuma on the basis of a sham intelligence report.

Ramaphosa said he had taken the decision to speak out, which amounted to breaking ranks with Zuma.

“That was a difficult decision to make,” Ramaphosa said, adding that he hoped people’s judgment would not have to be tested like that again.

Ramaphosa ended off a day of campaigning, which moved across the different class divides in SA, from Diepsloot to Ivory Park and finally to SA’s richest square mile, Sandton.

In Diepsloot, earlier in the day, Ramaphosa addressed hundreds of supporters donning bright new ANC T-shirts while he communicated the ANC’s election promises of  jobs, fighting crime, education and housing, in most of SA’s official languages.

As he was referring to providing housing in Diepsloot, some of the community members shouted “corruption”, referring to houses built by government being illegally sold.

This was a different message to the one he delivered in Sandton.