South Africa’s Ramaphosa says ANC needs renewal to regain support

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has said the governing party, the African National Congress, must work to regain popular support after being embroiled in corruption scandals and divided by bitter factional rivalries.

Marking the ANC’s 110th anniversary on Saturday, Ramaphosa struck a sombre note, emphasising that the party of Nelson Mandela which helped South Africa achieve democracy, has lost voter backing.

“We must be forthright in recognising, and deal decisively with, the reality that ANC structures are in a poor state,” Ramaphosa said.

“Many of them are focused on internal organisational conflicts, factionalism and furthering the self-interest of individual leaders rather than the aspirations of communities they are meant to serve.”

The anniversary event held in Polokwane in the northern Limpopo province comes days after a state-backed judicial investigation revealed how some of the party’s top officials had benefitted from corruption.

The ANC is also sharply divided between those backing Ramaphosa, who is also president of the party, and those loyal to former President Jacob Zuma, who has been embroiled in legal battles since he left office in 2018.

Zuma’s refusal to appear before the commission of inquiry saw him sentenced to 15 months in prison in July last year, which sparked riots that descended into widespread looting and destruction of property in the KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces.

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