Ramaphosa speech last-ditch attempt to save sinking ANC

President Cyril Ramaphosa Picture: TOBY MELVILLE/POOL/AFP

President Cyril Ramaphosa Picture: TOBY MELVILLE/POOL/AFP

Published May 27, 2024


The Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) has blasted President Cyril Ramaphosa for using his “conversation with the people of South Africa” speech as blatant political opportunism and a shameless misuse of government resources to save the sinking ship of the governing ANC ahead of the elections.

On Sunday, Ramaphosa addressed the country regarding the readiness for the forthcoming elections on Wednesday, while also taking an opportunity to speak on the road travelled by the sixth democratic administration over the past five years.

The FF Plus, however, questioned the need for the president’s speech especially given that there were no compelling issues that warranted a public address by the head of state.

The party leader, Dr Pieter Groenewald, said the address itself was a blatant attempt to persuade the South African 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. Even the announcement of the address posted on the government’s official web page today failed to provide justification for it.

“Clearly, the address had no bearing on some pertinent issue that affects all South Africans, it was merely an opportunity for the ANC to get some last-minute publicity.

“The ANC has once again demonstrated that it will not hesitate to misuse taxpayers’ money and resources for its own gain,” Groenewald said.

To make matters worse, Groenewald said media enquiries did not even receive any replies from the spokesperson, with political leaders being none the wiser on what the address would be about.

“The people of South Africa need not look any further for a compelling reason to oust this manipulative government that has brought the country to its knees. Wednesday’s elections will be a watershed moment in our history,” Groenewald said.

Political analyst Sandile Swana said Ramaphosa shouldn’t have involved himself in the Electoral Commission of South Africa’s (IEC) KwaZulu-Natal matter as there was an entity that dealt with such matters.

Swana said that as the leader of the government, Ramaphosa should not have commented on the reported obstruction of election activities and unlawful entry at IEC offices in KZN.

“I am surprised by him to comment on this issue, because it’s not his job. Ramaphosa is contesting elections. He is a candidate together with his party. I don’t have to listen to him and I don’t have to believe him. I think he is wrong, if I were to be direct,” he added.

The analyst further said Ramaphosa overstepped in his speech last night, adding that what happened was a conflation of the position of head state, head of the elected government and head of the governing party.

“This speech in many ways was a campaign speech by the president, who has failed to even address the state capture that he is talking about.

“If he spoke on the platform of being a head of state, he needed to clarify that. We needed to be sure that this speech is being made under the ambit of the existing laws, and not being opportunistic to use it to campaign in the last minute.”

Swana said the speech was inappropriate, adding that he was wrong to quote the Freedom Charter while addressing the nation.

He said the ANC under Ramaphosa was performing dismally, saying that he took exception to the statistics of the “so-called” jobs he created, saying they were questionable.

Another analyst, Michael Atkins, said the president’s address was partly an objective statement about the IEC and elections.

Atkins said Ramaphosa’s speech was also about the successes of the government.

“In my view, this belongs in a State of the Nation Address, or a party political platform, both of which are well covered by the media.The appearance is created of using the state broadcaster to advance party interests, in a manner not available to other parties.

“If this was tested by a formal complaint, and then possibly by being heard in the Electoral Court, then the consequences would not be severe.

“A hypothetical finding against the president might result in a fine. It would be hard to argue that this had a material effect on the election outcome,” the analyst added.

He continued to say that it was important for the country to have free and fair elections, regardless of who occupied a particular office, arguing that the office should not be used to advance party interests during an election.