/ 26 May 2024

Ramaphosa concerned by threats to elections

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Cyril Ramaphosa during the Siyanqoba rally. Credits: Delwyn Verasamy

President Cyril Ramaphosa turned an address to the nation into a last-ditch effort to garner votes for the ANC in the coming election using his position in government to address the nation. 

Ramaphosa said he was addressing the nation to speak on the country’s readiness to hold elections — a responsibility usually deemed as part of the Electoral Committee of South Africa’s (IEC) mandate. 

While Ramaphosa was concerned over possible threats to the elections, he said that the country’s law enforcement agencies and security services have made extensive preparations to ensure that these elections are peaceful and that all South Africans can freely exercise their right to vote.

He said that the security cluster has been deployed throughout the country to ensure that there are no disturbances or disruptions to the election process.

“We thank them for their professionalism, their dedication and their vigilance. Over the course of the last few months, many different parties and candidates have vigorously and enthusiastically campaigned for votes. While the contestation has been robust and has, at times, become heated, campaigning has been peaceful and free of intimidation.” he said.

On Friday, a warning of possible protests was issued by security company Fidelity in KwaZulu-Natal, following a similar notice by banking group FirstRand on Thursday, News24 reported. 

The report added that the KwaZulu-Natal police were working with the South African National Defence Force, crime intelligence and private security companies in a bid to avert possible violence, both on election day and after the 29 May polls.

This comes after former President Jacob Zuma lost an appeal by the IEC to the Constitutional Court which saw him removed from a list of prospective political party leaders vying for a spot in Parliament.

“We should all be concerned at reports that came out today about the obstruction of election activities, including unlawful entry at IEC storage sites in KwaZulu-Natal” Ramaphosa said, calling on parties, candidates, supporters and every South African to refrain from any action that could interfere with the due electoral process.

“Regardless of the outcome, let this election further entrench our democracy and strengthen our commitment to uphold it,” he said.

Ramaphosa said he commended all parties that have upheld the electoral code of conduct adding that political leaders had ensured that their supporters adhere to the democratic principles that have long characterised the country’s elections.

Following this, Ramaphosa then used the better half of his address to campaign for the ANC. 

He said that South Africa has endured a decade of corruption and state capture, weak economic growth and the erosion of our public institutions.

“Today, we have put that era behind us.” 

This is in stark contrast with statements made by the state capture commission head Justice Raymond Zondo who has publicly expressed his disappointment with the government’s failure to implement some of his recommendations. 

Zondo’s statements have been criticised by ANC leaders including party chair Gwede Manatshe who accused him of mistakenly thinking he has ownership of the state capture report as well as the management and execution of its recommendations.