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Ramaphosa extends olive branch to Jacob Zuma

Cyril Ramaphosa also thanked his predecessor Jacob Zuma for his service to the nation during his two terms as president.

FILE: Newly-elected President Cyril Ramaphosa taking his oath of office on 15 February 2018. Picture: Bertram Malgas/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended an olive branch to his predecessor Jacob Zuma, wishing him well and praising him for the successes during his tenure.

Zuma was forced to resign this week after the African National Congress (ANC) recalled him.

Ramaphosa was warmly welcomed in Parliament, even by opposition parties who previously disrupted proceedings.

Zuma is unhappy about how the ANC handled his removal.

He threw Ramaphosa under the bus this week; when he told the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) in an exclusive interview that the ANC president had agreed to a deal with him, that he be allowed to stay in office for the next few months.

WATCH: Jacob Zuma addresses the nation

But Ramaphosa seems to have let bygones be bygones.

“I wish to extend a word of gratitude to former President Jacob Zuma for the manner in which he approached this difficult and sensitive process.”

Ramaphosa also thanked Zuma for his service to the nation during his two terms as president, saying the country made significant progress in several areas of development.

WATCH: Now is the time to build a new SA for all - Ramaphosa

CORRUPTION

At the same time, President Ramaphosa says various issues will be urgently addressed at the National Prosecuting Authority and SA Revenue Service to make sure corruption is dealt with.

He says the various law enforcement agencies need to be protected.

“This requires that we strengthen law enforcement institutions and that we shield them from any external interference or manipulation.”

Added to this, corruption at state-owned entities will be given attention with board members monitored.

“We will also remove board members in a number of our SOEs. We’ve found that board members tend to get involved in operational matters up to procurement.”

‘RAMAPHOSA’S SPEECH HAS MOBILISED SOUTH AFRICANS TO GET INVOLVED’

Some political analysts say President Ramaphosa’s clear message of clean governance will work to his advantage as opposed to his predecessor.

Some of the main themes that have stuck out of Ramaphosa’s first State of The Nation Address (Sona) include inclusiveness, social compacts and working together to fight corruption, lack of accountability and the abuse of those most vulnerable in society.

Professor Susan Booysen from the Wits School of Governance says Ramaphosa’s speech has mobilised South Africans to get involved in the running of the country as a different approach than that of Zuma.

“He has given a better chance to bring South Africans out of their comfort zone.”

GALLERY: Sona red carpet

While some analysts have found Ramaphosa’s speech to be concrete and decisive.

Professor Lawrence Hamilton from the Wits School of Politics and Social Sciences says he found the president’s commitment to convening a number of summits, including one for jobs in the next few months ambitious.

“The only negative thing I’d have to say about it [Sona] is the number of summits that he has in mind.”

The analysts say Ramaphosa’s ability to build unity and national consensus will work in his favour.

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