Ramaphosa rallies S.Africans for votes after 30 years of ANC ruleSat, 13 Jan 2024 14:03:43 GMT

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday lauded the “significant progress” made by his ruling African National Congress from the ruins of apartheid 30 years ago to a landmark election this year.Ramaphosa, decked out in the party’s green and yellow colours, urged tens of thousands of ANC supporters to compare the state of the nation today with that inherited by Nelson Mandela in 1994.”We have made significant progress over the last 30 years,” he said, hammering home a message of real progress.Infighting and widespread disillusionment with ANC rule threatens to significantly erode its share of the vote and force it into a possibly uncomfortable power-sharing agreement.Despite being cash-strapped and attacked over corruption, a weak economy, power cuts and mounting crime, polls show the ANC is still likely to come out ahead in the parliamentary vote expected between May and August.With polls suggesting the ANC could drop below 50 percent of the vote for the first time in history, forcing the party to enter into a coalition, Ramphosa vowed to push for a clear victory.One poll in October put the ANC at 45 percent, down from 52 percent in March. But with a festival atmosphere sweeping the packed stadium at Mbombela, in the northeast, Ramphosa opened his speech with a dig at his 81-year-old predecessor Jacob Zuma, forced to resign in 2018 over corruption charges.Zuma still wields considerable clout and has vowed to campaign and vote for the radical new Umkhonto We Sizwe (MK) party, or Spear of the Nation, named after the ANC’s old military wing.On Friday, Zuma announced a political alliance with former ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, who was kicked out of the party last year over graft allegations but remains popular with parts of the left-leaning electorate.Ramaphosa saluted all ANC backers including MK veterans, adding with a smile, the “real” MK veterans. Ramaphosa went on to pledge the “reconstruction of our economy” at a time of 32 percent unemployment, and to “continue with our work to fight crime and corruption, to rejuvenate our nation”.He also had words for the nation’s youth praising its successes, notably “amapiano music that is ruling the world”.”I am going to teach the national chairperson to dance to amapiano once I’ve learned myself,” joked the 71-year-old nicknamed Uncle Cyril.