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It was tough! Cyril Ramaphosa's frank assessment of the Zuma years

ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa.
ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Image: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/File Photo

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday gave a frank assessment of the Jacob Zuma years in government - telling his audience in Pietermaritzburg that "the last few years were really difficult".

Although the two sought to display a united front in public this week‚ Ramaphosa told ANC supporters in Manor Flats that he spent the most part of 2018 cleaning up Zuma's mess.

“We’ve been through a difficult past few years‚” he said

“We've been through a difficult few years… it was really difficult. Things that were meant to be done well were not done well. Institutions were weakened. In the past year we spent a great deal of time repairing those things that were not done well‚” Ramaphosa said.

He said the first few months of his presidency were spent “rooting out elements that were leading us in the wrong direction‚ in terms of corruption”‚ without mentioning names.

Ramaphosa said the country now had a second chance to rectify what had gone wrong.

The president was on a drive to mobilise people to attend the ANC’s manifesto launch on Saturday and to vote for the ANC in the upcoming elections.

He started his day at the Siqongweni High School where he engaged with students and announced the building of a library‚ computer centre and a mobile lab for the students as a result of a government and business collaboration.

During his address at the school‚ Ramaphosa stuck to his message of warning against school dropouts‚ a message he has repeated since the start of his campaign this year.

Ramaphosa then went on to his second government event of the day where he opened a sports facility‚ developed for just under R100m by the department of sports and recreation.

At midday he swapped his suite for a golf shirt with an ANC logo when he began his efforts to convince people to attend the ANC manifesto launch and to vote for the party.

In ward 33‚ Manor Flats ‚ he climbed the ANC’s mobile stage where he first acknowledged that government had erred in the recent past.

“We know things have not been okay in the past but we are rectifying things‚” he told the crowd‚ many of whom seemed optimistic when Ramaphosa spoke about jobs and homes.

The president had a short interaction with concerned minority groups from the Pietermaritzburg area‚ where he again called for people to work together with government to change the problems affecting the country.

“The ANC can’t do it alone. We got to work together to make sure we build the South Africa of our dreams‚” he said.

In his address to ANC supporters‚ mostly women and teenagers‚ in KwaDambuza‚ Ramaphosa said he did not want people in the party who steal public money.

“(Now) in the ANC we want to do things the right way‚” he said.

In this address to ordinary voters‚ Ramaphosa focused on unemployment‚ land and education.

He pleaded with party supporters not to allow children to drop out of school‚ while singing the praises of government for ensuring free primary and tertiary education.

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