ANC takes stock of Ramaphosa’s five years in the Union Buildings

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa believes that since coming to office his government has done what it could in challenging times like “never before in this country”.

Ramaphosa said this yesterday during his high-level engagement session with representatives of the media and academia at the Sandton Convention Centre.

He gave a sneak peek of what he will tell the country today at the ANC’s 2019 election manifesto review rally billed for Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto.

Ramaphosa said no other ANC administration has faced difficulties out of its control like the sixth administration he leads. Despite the challenges, he said, he was “pleased with the manner in which we have navigated the disasters that have befallen our country over the past four years”.

In this regard, he cited the Covid-19 pandemic as the biggest challenge. He said his government had done well managing the pandemic through the “biggest vaccine rollout” and other interventions.

“As we got into government, little did we know that we would have Covid-19, which would lead to us shutting down the entire country. The response we had to that calamity was historic, unprecedented and never seen before in our country. We were able to embark on interventions that, in money terms, amounted to about 11% of our GDP.”

He said his government did all in its power to cushion workers, businesses and the unemployed from the pandemic’s impact.

Ramaphosa, however, admitted there were shortcomings, chiefly the looting of funds set aside for personal protective equipment (PPE). “What I am not proud of is the way in which we did not anticipate there would be corruption as we rolled out PPEs, which depressed me immensely,” he said, adding that perhaps the distribution of PPEs should have been centralised like the procurement of vaccines.

Another failure Ramaphosa acknowledged was the July 2021 unrest, which he said was mishandled. “And then there were the floods. When we had the floods, we tried the best we could, but we were not as prepared as we should have been, but we are getting better,” he said.

He said the administration had done its best to make meaningful changes based on the seven commitments sold to South Africans in 2019. Overall, 221 broad commitments were made in the ANC’s 2019 election manifesto. On the contentious issue of economic transformation, the ANC made 102 commitments. Only 10 were completed, while 86 are in progress.

On its social transformation commitments in 2019, he said the government had managed to achieve a mere 12, while 36 were “in progress,” and one commitment was not carried out.

“We have therefore made progress. We have also looked at our performance against a 30-year backdrop, what we inherited in 1994, and where we are today.”

In this regard, he said the legacy of apartheid continued to be a stumbling block in the ANC government’s plans to make as quick a turnaround as many South Africans expect.

“What should be clear is that apartheid has continued to [haunt us] on everything that we seek to do.”

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