The needs of South Africans are better met today than they were at the end of the apartheid era, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said at the ruling ANC’s first campaign rally on Sunday.
Ramaphosa admitted mistakes, but urged voters not to focus solely on the ANC’s track record in recent years.
The party has governed South Africa since the end of apartheid in the 1990s.
“The South Africa we live in today is very different from the South Africa of 1994,” said Ramaphosa in a polo shirt and cap in front of a full stadium in Soweto, an iconic township on the southern edge of Johannesburg that the ANC had chosen as the founding site for the election campaign.
South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela, was elected in 1994.
“Today we have provided our people with basic needs that they never had in the past,” Ramaphosa said.
Next year, against the backdrop of a struggling economy, South Africans will elect MPs to Parliament. The majority party then chooses the president.
Ramaphosa urged voters, who will then decide whether he gets a second term as chairman, not to focus on the negative aspects of his record but to look at the progress that has been made in thirty years.
“We want to be as transparent and open as possible about where we’ve made progress, but also about the mistakes,” he told the assembled crowd, launching a grassroots consultation process that will culminate in a policy agenda for the next five years .
He listed some of the problems the country has been facing recently, including the Covid pandemic, which resulted in the loss of 100,000 lives and two million jobs, and unrest in 2021 that killed more than 350 people , floods and finally the economic consequences of the conflict in Ukraine.
“We don’t make excuses, but that’s the reality we’ve had to deal with,” Ramaphosa said.
He vowed to rid the Johannesburg region of illegal miners, who are often the source or trigger of violence, but also pledged to take a tough stance on undocumented foreigners, a recurring theme in recent weeks.
The South African President stated that over the last few years, but more generally over the past 30 years, we have “worked to improve the lives of our fellow citizens”.
Source : www.barrons.com