Parties slam Ramaphosa over address to the nation

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Jacques Naude Independent Newspapers

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Jacques Naude Independent Newspapers

Published May 27, 2024


President Cyril Ramaphosa has been accused of using the public broadcaster, the SABC, to campaign for the ANC.

This comes after Ramaphosa addressed the nation regarding the work and some of the successes of the sixth administration during his address to the nation on Sunday.

On Monday, the DA revealed that it will be filing an application with the Electoral Court against Ramaphosa in his personal capacity following his violation of the Electoral Code of Conduct when he used state resources to further his election campaign.

The DA is not the only party that has blasted Ramaphosa. The EFF and the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) also criticised Ramaphosa for his “conversation with the people of South Africa” speech which they described as “blatant political opportunism and a shameless misuse of government resources to save the sinking ship of the governing ANC ahead of the elections”.

The DA accused Ramaphosa of using state resources, including the public broadcaster, the SABC, to campaign for his party in the elections.

The DA’s Charity McCord said Ramaphosa violated the Electoral Code of Conduct that stipulates that “no person may abuse a position of power, privilege or influence, including parental, patriarchal, traditional or employment authority, to influence the conduct or outcome of an election”.

“Under the guise of delivering an ‘address to the nation’ on Sunday night, Ramaphosa violated the Electoral Code of Conduct when he abused the highest office in the land for flagrant electioneering.

“Ramaphosa’s manipulation was cynical, calculated and designed to influence the outcome of the election by providing the ANC with unearned airtime not made available to any other party contesting the election,“ said McCord.

Others accused Ramaphosa of having deviated from his speech to refer to ANC matters which he spoke about during his address at the ANC Siyanqoba rally on Saturday.

McCord said this was not the first time that Ramaphosa has conducted himself unethically, while the EFF condemned the use of a public platform such as the SABC to “trumpet” the ANC’s historical achievements.

“The EFF condemns in the strongest possible terms, the hijacking of the state broadcaster for partisan purposes.

“It is clear that there is fear within ANC ranks of an imminent loss, and they are resorting to desperate measures to cling to power. By exploiting his position and access to public resources, Ramaphosa is undermining the principles of fair competition and democracy,” the EFF said.

Political parties are of the view that Ramaphosa abused his power, arguing that his message was yet another attempt at electioneering and singing the praises of his party ahead of the elections with the EFF describing Ramaphosa’s address as unethical.

“While these achievements are debatable, what is undeniable is the unethical and undemocratic nature of using a public platform meant to serve all South Africans to campaign for the ANC,” the Red Berets said.

“This act of desperation signals a party that is losing its grip and is willing to compromise the integrity of our democratic processes to maintain power,” it added.

In his ill-fated address, Ramaphosa had gone to lengths in giving praise to the work of his administration over the past five years.

“We lowered the rate of infection, and ensured that every person received the care that they needed.

“We introduced a massive package of social and economic support to protect vulnerable businesses, workers and households from the destructive effects of the pandemic.

“More than 5.7 million workers received wage support through the special UIF scheme. Through the introduction of the special SRD grant, we provided relief to more than 11 million unemployed people at the height of the pandemic,“ Ramaphosa proclaimed.

Added McCord: “Not for the first time, Ramaphosa has chosen his corrupt political party over South Africa. As the President, he should have known better and must be held to account. This type of abuse cannot be allowed by anyone.”

Responding to The Star, presidential spokesperson Vincent Magwenya slammed critics, saying their criticism of the president were unfounded.

“The criticism is unfounded because the president’s address on Sunday was a stately account of the work done during the course of the sixth administration.

“The president was, therefore, being accountable to the nation as we end the term of the sixth administration.

“Second, he was taking the responsibility of assuring South Africans that these elections are going to be free and fair and, more importantly, safe. That responsibility can only be discharged by a sitting head of state,” Magwenya said.

The FF Plus’ Dr Pieter Groenewald said the address itself was a blatant attempt to persuade the South African public to vote for the ANC against the backdrop of the “injustices of the past”.

“This misuse of the SABC was undoubtedly an effort to ensure the ANC’s political survival. Even the announcement of the address posted on the government’s official web page failed to provide justification for it.

“Clearly, the address had no bearing on some pertinent issues that affects all South Africans. It was merely an opportunity for the ANC to get some last-minute publicity,” said Groenewad.

Political analyst Sandile Swana said Ramaphosa should not have involved himself in the Electoral Commission of South Africa’s (IEC) KwaZulu-Natal matter as there was an entity that dealt with such matters.

Swana said that as the leader of the government, Ramaphosa should not have commented on the reported obstruction of election activities and unlawful entry at IEC offices in KZN.

“I am surprised by him commenting on this issue, because it’s not his job. Ramaphosa is contesting the elections. He is a candidate together with his party.

“I don’t have to listen to him and I don’t have to believe him. I think he is wrong, if I were to be direct,” he added.

The Star