So what will Cyril say during his maiden speech?

12 January 2018 - 16:55 By Sibongakonke Shoba
ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa gets a warm welcome in Duncan Village near East London.
ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa gets a warm welcome in Duncan Village near East London.

All eyes will be on the Buffalo City stadium in East London on Saturday where ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa is to deliver his maiden speech as party boss.

Ramaphosa is expected to use the speech to restore public confidence in a party that has a dented reputation‚ following corruption allegations over the past 10 years during President Jacob Zuma's rule.

Ramaphosa’s speech comes a few months before the party launches its election campaign in preparation for the 2019 general elections.

Following Zuma's announcement that a commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture will be established‚ there are expectations that Ramaphosa's speech will announce further measures to deal with the allegations and with corruption in the governing party in general.

The new party leader might also shed some light on Zuma’s surprise announcement about fee-free higher education.

Insiders say Ramaphosa could use the opportunity to outline how the government plans to boost the country's ailing economy.

Ramaphosa's speech was drafted by the national executive committee‚ which met on Wednesday. It was anticipated that the meeting would discuss Zuma's recall from government‚ but it focused only on Saturday's event.

The ANC expects more that 120 000 party followers to fill the stadium and overflow venues.

Some of the high profile guests expected at the event include Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta‚ who held a meeting with Zuma in Durban on Thursday.

Ramaphosa and other ANC officials have been drumming up support ahead of the birthday celebrations. They met traditional leaders and visited the homes and graves of the party's former leaders.

On Friday‚ Ramaphosa visited Duncan Village‚ near East London‚ where he was met by cheering crowds.