South African deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, a presumed 2019 presidential contender, has spoken out against state institutions in the country being “captured” by families and individuals for narrow self-enrichment.He was delivering a keynote address at the Black Business Council (BBC) economic recovery dinner at the Hilton Hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg, on Thursday.
“We will not compromise in our fight against corruption, patronage and rent-seeking,” Ramaphosa declared.
He added: “We will not allow the formations of the democratic movement, our symbols, our history or our policies to be appropriated in pursuit of factional interests or in attempts to hoodwink the public through revolutionary-sounding slogans.”
His remarks were interpreted as an apparent reference to the India-born Gupta family who are President Jacob Zuma’s close friends and have been accused of undue influence on the government.
Ramaphosa acknowledged that the country’s political life was fractious with public sentiment appearing to be more polarized, and public discourse more charged and shriller than at any time since 1994.
“There is discord within the democratic movement itself, with different formations adopting opposing positions on key issues of the day.
“We must be honest enough to admit the depth of the political, economic and social challenges our country faces. And we must be courageous enough to recognise the domestic and global conditions that give rise to these challenges.”
Ramaphosa, ruling African National Congress secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize have criticised Zuma publicly, following his controversial cabinet reshuffle three weeks ago.