JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa says the fight against corruption and work to improve the country’s faltering economy have been endorsed by the ruling African National Congress party in order to improve its declining electoral support.
Ramaphosa on Sunday addressed the close of the party’s national policy conference where it discussed what is must do to address the country’s challenges, including the high poverty levels, 35% unemployment rate and rising inflation.
“The conference has agreed that we need to allocate extraordinary and militant measures to accelerate increasing growth, create employment and alleviate poverty," said Ramaphosa.
“We have also noted with great concern the impact of the rising cost of living on South African families,” said Ramaphosa of the country's inflation rate of 7.4%.
The policy meeting, seen as a preview to its conference in December where it will elect new leaders, was attended by more than 2,000 delegates.
According to Ramaphosa, the delegates also expressed concern about the country’s electricity crisis, which has resulted in nationwide rolling power cuts which have hit businesses and households as the state power utility Eskom fails to keep the lights on.
The delegates supported the government's efforts to address the power cuts.
“We have recognized that our economic progress requires a secure supply of affordable and sustainable energy," said Ramaphosa.
“The conference has endorsed the actions recently announced by the government to improve the performance of Eskom’s existing power stations and to add new generation capacity to the grid as quickly as possible,” said Ramaphosa.
The party’s contentious step-aside policy, which requires party leaders accused of corruption to step down from their positions, was endorsed by the conference despite some opposition from rival factions within the party.
Delegates from the KwaZulu-Natal province who remain loyal to former President Jacob Zuma, have argued that the step-aside rule is not implemented consistently and is used by Ramaphosa to silence political rivals.
The policies agreed on at the conference are expected to be adopted at the national conference in December, where Ramaphosa will be seeking re-election as the party’s leader.