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Former leader of the Lowveld Youth Movement (Loyomo), Milcharles Shabangu and Mathews Phosa at the launch of the foundation.

Cyril cannot fix the ANC, he must fix government instead, says Phosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa must focus his attention on fixing the government than trying to fix the ANC because he will never fix the ANC, says Dr Mathews Phosa.

Former premier of Mpumalanga and treasurer-general of the African National Congress, who is now a businessman expressed this view at the launch of the Foundation for Citizens Rights Under Law at Mbombela on Saturday.

“(Ramaphosa) in his position, must now decide what is more important for him. Is it trying to fix the ANC, and I’m arguing, he can’t fix it, or is it fixing government I suggest that he fix the government to give services to the people. It’s not going to be easy to try and fix the ANC, but it might be easier for him to fix the government, but he can’t fix both of them, because he is terribly overwhelmed by the internal ANC contradictions. This is my view,” said Phosa.

Ramaphosa was elected the ANC’s president after he narrowly defeated Nkosazana-Dlamini-Zuma at the organisation’s 54th national conference held at NASREC in Soweto in December 2017.

The leadership that emerged from that conference was a mixture of the supporters of both Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, but the biggest winner was ANC deputy president, David Mabuza. His tried and tested strategy of funding all ANC factions, once more paid off. He obtained even more votes than Ramaphosa.

Mabuza’s triumph, however, came at a huge political cost to him. His acquaintances in the so-called “premier league” provinces – the Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and North West – have since deserted him after he betrayed them by failing to bring the votes that he purportedly had before the conference.

Another thorn in Ramaphosa’s side is the organisation’s secretary-general, Ace Magashule. Barely few weeks after the end of the 54th national conference, he told Dlamini-Zuma’s supporters that “the ANC that we know would be returned in five years.”

Ramaphosa himself has not made things easier for himself either. He strengthened the South African Revenue Services, the National Prosecution Authority and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks), adding to speculations that he was using law enforcement agencies to target his detractors within the ANC. This was after the Hawks arrested former Eskom managers for alleged fraud linked to a R745 million contract at Kusile power station in Mpumalanga.

The revelations at the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture have also compounded Ramaphosa’s position, as more and more associates of former president Jacob Zuma continue to be implicated in cases of alleged corruption.

Some of Nkosazana-Zuma’s supporters have been calling for Ramaphosa’s head, fuelling speculations that they will use the ANC’s mid-term national general council (NGC) scheduled for June this year.

Phosa, however, does not believe that Ramaphosa would be ousted at the NGC.

Free legal aid to all citizens

The Foundation for Citizens Rights Under Law is the brainchild of Mpumalanga acting judge of the High Court Sinky Nkosi. It aims to provide free legal aid to all citizens without discrimination.

Dr Phosa with some of the people who were honoured at the launch of the foundation.

The organisation’s launch was attended by professionals in the legal and education fields.

“Today we are unveiling the Foundation for Citizens Rights Under Law to promote human rights and to protect constitutional rights. We cannot wait for other people from other provinces to do it for us,” said Nkosi.

He said that the foundation would enforce the constitutionally guaranteed rights by taking any violations to courts if needs be, even where the perpetrators are government institutions.

He said structures such as Afriforum are only interested in serving certain constituencies along racial lines and exclude those of marginalised communities, particularly in rural provinces such as Mpumalanga.

“People resort to violence; they are burning clinics and schools. To help our people to make our constitution viable, it can only work if you approach the courts in the right way,” said Nkosi.

Representatives of professional legal bodies, such as the Black Lawyers Association and National Association of Democratic Lawyers also pledged to support the foundation by providing free legal representation.

“Our country is falling apart because uneducated people are ready to seize the moment. The educated are just seated. What happened at the SONA (State of the Nation Address) was embarrassing. It’s time the talent and skills of this province are unleashed,” said Rodney Segage, the leader of Nadel in Mpumalanga province.

Phosa welcomed the formation of the foundation and committed to supporting it.

“We must support the foundation. We must give it funds,” he said, before donating R50 000 to the foundation.

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