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Ramaphosa criticised for ‘misuse of resources’ in pre-election address

Ramaphosa criticised for ‘misuse of resources’ in pre-election address
President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Photo: Elmond Jiyane / GCIS)

In a televised address on Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa encouraged voters to make their voices heard in the election on Wednesday. Then he took the opportunity to highlight his government’s achievements over the past five years.

In the run-up to the general elections on Wednesday, 29 May, President Cyril Ramaphosa called on political parties, candidates and all South Africans “to refrain from any action that could interfere with the due electoral process”. 

This follows threats to Electoral Commission of South Africa [IEC] staff and claims of “voting rigging” – both emerging from KwaZulu-Natal this weekend. 

On Sunday, 26 May, during an address to the nation broadcast on SABC, Ramaphosa said: “We should all be concerned at reports that came out today about the obstruction of election activities, including unlawful entry at IEC storage sites in KwaZulu-Natal.”

“Regardless of the outcome, let this election further entrench our democracy and strengthen our commitment to uphold it,” Ramaphosa said. 

Overseas voters have already cast their ballots, and special votes will be cast on Monday and Tuesday. According to the IEC, 1,668,076 South Africans have been approved for special votes. Of those, 624,593 voters will be visited by trained election officers at their homes or places of confinement. 

Then on Wednesday, millions of South Africans will cast their votes. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Tears, cheers and beers as South Africans in their thousands cast their ballots in the Netherlands

“This will be the seventh time that South Africans of all races, from all walks of life, from all corners of our country, will go to vote for national and provincial government,” the President said.

“We will once again assert the fundamental principle, articulated in the Freedom Charter, that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people.”

Ramaphosa said that in the days to come:“We will be doing much more than exercising our constitutional right to vote … We will be determining the direction that our country takes. We will be taking responsibility for our future, the future of our families, our communities and our nation.” 

Government’s achievements

During his address, Ramaphosa also highlighted some of his administration’s successes during the past five years.

“When this administration took office in 2019, our country stood at a turning point … We had endured a decade of corruption and State Capture, of weak economic growth and the erosion of our public institutions,” he said.

“Today, we have put that era behind us. We have placed South Africa on a new trajectory of recovery and laid a strong foundation for future growth.”

Read more in Daily Maverick: Elections 2024

He highlighted changes under his government, including the reformation of the criminal justice system, job creation, the implementation of the Social Relief of Distress Grant, various investment projects and the long-awaited formation of the National Council on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide. 

He also touched on student funding, stating: “Working together, we have substantially increased financial support for students from poor and working class families. We have doubled the number of students receiving support from NSFAS over the last five years to well over a million in the last academic year.” 

Ramaphosa did not mention the ongoing crisis in the sector or that the National Student Financial Aid Scheme is currently under administration, while students still contend with delayed allowances for essentials such as food and transport.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Young people’s future in jeopardy while NSFAS remains a cash cow for the opportunistic and politically connected

Ramaphosa also touched on the Covid-19 pandemic – which saw the looting of state coffers via government contracts – and the July 2021 uprising. 

“Even during the worst moments of the pandemic, we endured and we overcame … This is how we are as South Africans. We confront even the greatest of challenges with determination and courage,” he said. 

“When, in July 2021, it looked like our country would go up in flames, the people of South Africa stood firm against those who wanted to incite an insurrection,” Ramaphosa said. 

“Fellow South Africans, the last five years have been a time of rebuilding and recovery. It has been about working together not only to meet the challenges of the moment but to put in place firm foundations for a better future.”

Ramaphosa went on: “As this sixth administration draws to a close, and as we prepare for the seventh administration, let us build on the progress that we have made.”

“At this moment in our path to renewal, we cannot afford to turn back. There is more work to be done … Let us draw strength and encouragement from the difficulties we have overcome together.”

The President added: “I call upon all South Africans to go cast their votes … We are a diverse people, but a united nation. Let us be united in our commitment to our democracy. Let us work together to build a better country.”

‘Misuse of resources’

Freedom Front Plus leader Dr Pieter Groenewald criticised Ramaphosa’s address ahead of the elections as “blatant political opportunism and shameless misuse of government resources”.

“The address itself was a blatant attempt at persuading the public to vote for the ANC against the backdrop of the ‘injustices of the past’.

“This misuse of the SABC was undoubtedly an effort to ensure the ANC’s political survival,” Groenewald said.

DA MP Dean Macpherson posted on X: “This is a shocking abuse of state resources by Cyril Ramaphosa in a last-ditch attempt to secure reelection.” DM


Daily Maverick has closed comments on all elections articles for the next two weeks. While we do everything in our power to ensure deliberately false, misleading and hateful commentary does not get published on our site, it’s simply not possible for our small team to have sight of every comment. Given the political dynamics of the moment, we cannot risk malignant actors abusing our platform to manipulate and mislead others. We remain committed to providing you with a platform for dynamic conversation and exchange and trust that you understand our need for circumspection at this sensitive time for our country.

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