South Africa

ANC Leadership Race: In West Rand, Ramaphosa vows to fight on despite ‘targeted attack’

By Ihsaan Haffejee 4 September 2017

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa remains convinced that the hacking of his private emails occurred with the help of state organs. Speaking to a tent packed with ANC branch members from the West Rand Region at the Greenhills Stadium in Randfontein, Gauteng, Ramaphosa said he would not let the email scandal that had dominated the news agenda over the weekend deter him from running for the presidency of the ANC. By IHSAAN HAFFEJEE.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is determined to continue campaigning for the top ANC job, saying he would not let what he called a “targeted attack” deter him.

Ramaphosa made two public appearances on a day when all the Sunday papers had front page stories related to the emails allegedly between him and several women, with whom the Sunday Independent claimed he was having or had previous relationships.

Photo: Supporters of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa wait for his arrival at a mini rally where he addressed branch members from the ANC’s West Rand Region at the Greenhills Stadium in Randfontein. Picture: IHSAAN HAFFEJEE

Before speaking in Randfontein, Ramaphosa attended an event commemorating police who were killed in the line of duty over the last financial year. Despite giving a keynote address there, Ramaphosa did not mention the emails until he was in front of the ANC members on the West Rand.

You would have seen in the last few days claims being made against me of a personal nature. This I am convinced happened through the utilisation of state organs,” said Ramaphosa. “We should never, as the ANC, descend to the level where we utilise state resources to target each other. This is a weakness we must get rid of.

We saw this kind of thing happening in 2007,” Ramaphosa said, recalling the lead-up to the 2007 ANC elective congress where he claimed state resources were abused in the fight for the ANC Presidency. Similar “things”, according to Ramaphosa, were happening now in 2017 ahead of the upcoming December conference.

The Deputy President claimed that “dirty tricks” were being played by “faceless provocateurs” whose main aim was to deter people from contesting for leadership positions. Ramaphosa said he would not let what he called a “targeted attack” deter him from seeking the top job in the ANC come the elective conference in December.

Where I have made mistakes, I will take full responsibility… I will not be deterred,” Ramaphosa said while speaking to hundreds of supporters, who earlier sang: “We are ready for Ramaphosa, We are ready for Ramaphosa.”

Photo: Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses branch members from the ANC’s West Rand Region at the Greenhills Stadium in Randfontein. Picture: IHSAAN HAFFEJEE

Earlier in the day Ramaphosa received an endorsement from ANC West Rand region chairman Boyce Maneli. “We want someone not to win factional battles but someone who will win the hearts of the people come 2019,” said Maneli.

The regional leadership of the ANC Youth League and Women’s League also addressed the crowd with endorsements for Ramaphosa’s bid for the ANC’s Presidency. A large contingent of ANC Women’s League members wearing their green blouses sang songs in praise of Ramaphosa, this despite the national leadership of the ANCWL backing Dlamini-Zuma.

What is published in the newspaper, I think it’s bullsh*t,” said ANC member Michael Matsa when questioned on what he thought about the allegations against Ramaphosa. Matsa said the attacks on Ramaphosa were happening because the other faction was getting desperate.

Asked why he was supporting Ramaphosa, Matsa said: “He knows a lot about the economy and right now in the country our economy is down so there are no jobs. I think he can solve this problem of our economy.” Matsa went on to say that if Ramaphosa does not win in December, the ANC “can forget about my vote”.

During his address, Ramaphosa once again called for a commission of inquiry into state capture to be set up without any further delay. “Law enforcement agencies like the Hawks must immediately embark on investigations,” Ramaphosa said.

I am absolutely certain that some of these attacks are being made because some of us are taking a strong stance against corruption. Because we want to rid our movement of corruption,” Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa hinted that he had received information that the attacks against him and others seeking leadership positions would increase in the coming months.

He concluded by reminding the audience that the power of electing ANC leadership lies in the branches and with the members of the organisation. “It is not the front pages of newspapers that will choose the leaders of the ANC, it is you, the members of the ANC, that will choose the next leadership of the ANC,” said Ramaphosa. DM

Main photo: Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa sings the national anthem during a mini rally before he addresses branch members from the ANC’s West Rand Region at the Greenhills Stadium in Randfontein. Picture: IHSAAN HAFFEJEE

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