/ 26 June 2023

Take back the Western Cape, Ramaphosa tells ANC delegates

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Photo by MARCO LONGARI / AFP) (Photo by MARCO LONGARI/AFP via Getty Images)

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa has called on party delegates in the Western Cape to win back the province from the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the 2024 general elections. 

Speaking at the closing of the Western Cape ANC conference at the weekend, Ramaphosa said it was not impossible for the ANC to regain control of the province. 

The ANC lost control of the Western Cape in the 2009 general elections and has failed to regain support there since. 

“If we can achieve a clear majority … and we need to appreciate the amount of work we need to do to convince our people here in the Western Cape that we are capable of also serving their interests,” Ramaphosa told delegates. 

“We need to convince them that we are the best place to improve their lives and to build a province that is more equal, more inclusive and more prosperous. And, in the end, only the African National Congress can achieve that task.”

The conference saw JJ Tyhalisisu being elected as the provincial chairperson ahead of Cameron Dugmore, with Sharon Davids as deputy chairperson, Neville Delpor as the provincial secretary, Ayanda Bans as the deputy secretary and Derek Appel as treasurer. 

Congratulating the newly elected leaders, Ramaphosa said the ANC was armed with policies to help the province’s poor people and that the party would win a clear majority in the 2024 elections. But, to win, the ANC needed to show that it was united, the president added.

“Now, if the ANC is united, both here in the Western Cape and nationally, then victory is certain, victory is asserted. So, comrades, let us start off by consolidating the unity that you have shown here, in order for us indeed to be able to take on all the others who are contesting us and succeeding as we progress along the path.” 

Ramaphosa said the new Western Cape leadership had a chance to demonstrate that the ANC had changed and matured. 

“This is also an opportunity to show the ANC in the Western Cape as an effective campaigning organisation that is able to mobilise voters behind fundamental change. It is not our task simply to show how the current political or provincial government is failing the poor people and the working class in our province, but to demonstrate that we can, and will, do and what we will do to address the deep fault lines in the Western Cape,” he said. 

Emphasising the need for the ANC to renew itself, Ramaphosa said the party could not survive factional divisions and needed leaders chosen for their strength, standing, morals and ethics. 

“It is our responsibility as a movement to attract into our events those people who are most committed to the cause of national liberation, to develop them into capable leaders and to hold them to the highest standards of democratic values and accountability,” he said.

“We must be clear that comrade leaders who do not have all the key attributes that are set out in our Constitution can be leaders who divide, rather than unite.

“So, we want leaders who are going to unite this organisation, not leaders, who have divisive tendencies or, as they act or do things or even as they speak, will only be able to divide us. We want leaders who will unite the African National Congress, not divide the African National Congress.”