Radebe upbeat about ANC winning overwhelming majority
Energy minister Jeff Radebe spent hours at the IEC National Results Operations Centre in Pretoria on Wednesday evening where political parties waited to see how they performed in the sixth national and provincial elections.
Radebe was among the ANC representatives, including deputy secretary-general Jesse Duarte, who were glued to the screen.
He said the ANC will receive an overwhelming majority but refused to quantify his projections in percentage terms.
“Well we will all be here on Saturday, the IEC will announce that the ANC has won the elections and that President Ramaphosa will continue being the president of the Republic of South Africa. It will be an overwhelming majority,” Radebe predicted.
Radebe also shared the party’s feelings about voting stations that remained closed while less than an hour remained before voting stations would close at night.
The party wanted those who may not have been able to vote, owing to the protests that prevented voting activities in their areas, to be granted an extension to vote.
“We are also very disturbed about the non-occurrence that happened today [Wednesday] where some voting stations were not open even about hour ago, but we do hope that the IEC will make sure that they do not deny our people their constitutional right to vote for the government of their choice. They must be given an opportunity to express themselves on the ballot. I hope that there has to be an extension so that all those without any fault of [their own] should not be punished for nothing,” Radebe added. He indicated that the areas affected are ANC strongholds.
The minister also spoke fondly about Ramaphosa’s drive to bring more than $100bn (R1.4-trillion) in investment into the SA economy, predicting that the drive will continue.
“In 2018 President Ramaposa made a clarion call that he wants to drive an investment of more than $1-billion into the South African economy, which translates to roughly R1.3-trillion. We have seen, towards the end of 2018, an investment summit that was held at the Sandton Convention Centre for one day but at the end of that day there was more than R300-billion of commitment by the private sector both locally and internationally to invest in the South African economy. The turnaround as announced by the statistician general about three weeks ago, you can see that the economy is beginning to turn around. I expect that there will be more investment and energy as the driver for economic growth and development we are also gonna be at the centre of making sure that energy investment increases in South Africa,” Radebe said.
He said that the oil exploration and production sharing deal in South Sudan was going to benefit both SA and South Sudan in the sense that it will mitigate the ever-increasing fuel price in SA and also avail economic opportunities to the people of South Sudan. Radebe reiterated his defence for the decision to do business with South Sudan, stating the liberation Struggle days as the time during which relations between SPLM (Sudan People's Liberation Movement) and the ANC were conceived and nurtured. Both the ANC and the SPLM are now governing parties in their respective jurisdictions, the latter ascending to governing party status in the wake of the secession, in July 2011.
"We are not an island as South Africa, we are part of the African continent. So when we talk about agenda 2063 the Africa we want, we also want South African companies to invest in the rest of the African continent as well as those countries to invest in South Africa. Which explains why as South Africa we are so keen to develop in partnership with South Sudan that oil block B2 in South Sudan in order to give economic independence to the people South Sudan as well as to secure our security of oil supply because we are a net importer of crude oil in South Africa. When that project is in full operation, it will reduce the cost and price of oil in our country. It is huge. We are talking here of 3.2-billion barrels in oil reserves which means that it will be pumping oil for the next 40 years plus at peak.
“Our relationship with South Sudan is not something that starts in 2018/2019. We were together in the trenches fighting injustice both in South Sudan and in South Africa. SPLM were a revolutionary partner of the ANC and MK,” he said.
Radebe said Ramaphosa's government will continue on its investment drive after the elections and also pave the way for more SA companies to find new markets.
He believes that Ramaphosa’s campaign strategy of “building South Africa together” has resonated and the 2019 election results will reflect this view when they finally come out. “Thus far it has been very positive from the ANC point of view, the people are very vibrant and are very positive about the ANC. I think the message of let’s grow South Africa together resonates very well with the vast majority of South African people. I think the line of march that the president issued during the Siyanqoba rally in Johannesburg on Saturday also resonated very well that we are on the march to victory and that victory is today,” he said.
Radebe would not be persuaded to comment about a possibly reduced cabinet with more economic policy liberalisation to enable the economic activities he stated above. He said bilateral relations between South Africa and South Sudan are very good.