JOHANNESBURG, June 1 – The African National Congress’ (ANC) “new dawn” campaign will amount to nothing if corruption prevails, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday.
Ramaphosa told professionals gathered in Sandton that the campaign he spearheads goes hand-in-hand with cleaning up and stopping corruption both in the public and private sectors.
“How we deal with corruption will define this new dawn. We are firm and going to ensure that we root out corruption from the face of South Africa. We need to return to those principles of our forbearers – principles of truthfulness, doing things correctly and putting our people first…those are the principles that underpins the new dawn,” he told the audience.
Ramaphosa said he had earlier visited Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and apologised to him and his wife Leah on the negative outlook the governing party took up in recent years.
“He thanked us saying he can see the new dawn, can touch it and smell it and can see that we have exploded onto a new path,” said Ramaphosa.
“I told Ramaphosa that I would like to apologise on behalf of our movement for driving him into despair. There was a time when the direction the movement was taking made Desmond Tutu lose confidence in us…so I apologised.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa urged professionals to join him in his Thuma Mina campaign and help build South Africa.
Professionals such as academics and captains of industry gathered for a dialogue with Ramaphosa. He likened the mix of professionals to the intelligentsia who were fathers and founders of the African National Congress (ANC) in 1912.
“Today you are fired up as you gathered here, otherwise you wouldn’t be here,” he said to a round of applause.
“As you’re gathered here, I can call you the brain trust, the brain trust that was there in 1912 [when the ANC was formed]. 106 years later I can say yes John Langalibalele Dube, yes Pixley Ka Seme and many others…and say today you can safely state you have a replica of people sitting here.”
Ramaphosa coined Thuma Mina as part of what he called a “new dawn” in his first state of the nation address.
The campaign is a preparation for next year’s elections and will focus on the party listening and actively resolving people’s problems, especially those around poor delivery of basic services such as water, sanitation and housing.
The governing party, plagued by factionalism and infighting, is seeking to unite and win South African’s hearts ahead of the crucial 2019 elections.