Johannesburg – African National Congress deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa has urged other organisations in the tripartite alliance to continue speaking out when mistakes are made.
In reiterating a call he made previously, Ramaphosa told 576 delegates at Nehawu’s 11th national congress in Boksburg that not speaking out was a betrayal to the mission undertaken by the alliance.
The South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions have been criticised by some in the ANC for speaking out against happenings in the 105-year-old organisation. This has resulted in some within the different organisations expressing a desire to break up the alliance.
“We’ve got to be moving together, working together, leading the country together and ensuring that we achieve the objectives that our alliance has set out for itself,” said Ramaphosa.
The ANC and country’s deputy president received a warm welcome at the event, with Nehawu president Mzwandile Makwayiba often referring to Ramaphosa as “president incoming”.
Nehawu gave Ramaphosa a blanket, saying that, when he was at home, he could wrap himself up and know that the union stood behind him.
“We cannot effect meaningful change if we become complacent; if we become comfortable with our own positions in the status quo,” said Ramaphosa.
He said being complacent meant being silent when watching a section of the alliance making mistakes, and allowing them to continue with the mistake without saying anything about it.
“That is an [un]revolutionary act that is actually a betrayal of our revolution,” said Ramaphosa.
He said measures needed to be taken by the liberation movement to correct its weaknesses.
“We are not as strong as we used to be; we are not as united as we used to be. We need to look at ourselves because we are the hope and trust that our people have,” he said.
He added that the ANC needed to restore the hope people had in the alliance and had to address the concerns some people had that leaders across all spheres of government and in the private sector, were helping themselves to the resources that were meant for the poor.
“The emails are spewing out everything,” he said.
‘Economy on a new trajectory’
Ramaphosa said the issue of state capture had to be dealt with urgently, as it demonstrated that there had been undue external influence over some appointments and procurement decisions within public institutions.
He also told delegates that they needed to welcome the announcement by President Jacob Zuma to establish a judicial inquiry into the matter.
Ramaphosa also briefly discussed the ANC’s upcoming policy conference, saying it was an opportunity to look at which policies had worked and which ones were not working.
“It must also determine where policies need to be refined, or changed, or where implementation needs to be enhanced,” he said.
Ramaphosa said the conference was an opportunity to create a platform for rapid growth, massive job creation and fundamental economic transformation.
“This is an opportunity to place our economy on a new trajectory,” he told delegates.
Ramaphosa, who is also in charge of government business, said the recent ratings agencies’ downgrade of South Africa’s credit had left the country in even more difficult economic circumstances.
“Having recently entered a recession, the economy is still some distances from achieving the rates of growth that we need to create the jobs our country needs on a significant scale,” said Ramaphosa.
He added that the downgrades undermined investor confidence and made things more difficult and expensive.