Cyril Ramaphosa: We have learnt our lesson

With ‘humility’, President Ramaphosa thanked the 57% of the electorate that opted to give the ANC another chance.

President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks outside Luthuli House where the ANC held a post-election celebration on 12 May 2019. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The African National Congress (ANC), which won 8 May general elections with a historic low score amid anger over corruption and joblessness, has “learnt our lesson”, President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also party leader, said on Sunday.

“We have learnt our lesson, we have heard the people of South Africa, we have heard the very clear message of what they expect from us,” he told several hundred people gathered at ANC headquarters in the economic hub Johannesburg.

“They were saying ‘president: we want jobs’... that is what we are going to do, we are going to work hard to create jobs for our people.

“They were saying they want an ANC that is going to run government properly... they were saying we must end corruption, comrades, we are going to end corruption.”

With “humility”, Ramaphosa thanked the 57% of the electorate that opted to give the ANC another chance - enough for an outright majority with 230 seats out of 400 in Parliament.

GALLERY: 'Ons het hulle geskop' - Ramaphosa thanks supporters for election win

The result was nevertheless the ANC’s poorest showing since Nelson Mandela led it to its first electoral victory in South Africa’s first multi-racial polls in 1994.

Under Jacob Zuma, the party battled numerous corruption scandals, sluggish economic growth, record unemployment and poverty - issues Ramaphosa, a former businessman and veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle, has promised to tackle.

Ramaphosa, 66, took over last year when the ANC forced Zuma to resign after nine years in office.

Some observers have said the ANC would have had a lower outcome without Ramaphosa at the helm. He is set to be sworn in on 25 May.