Cyril Ramaphosa explains presidential speech on eve of voting

29 May 2024 - 11:53
By Kgothatso Madisa
President Cyril Ramaphosa and his wife Dr Tshepo Motsepe voted at Tekani Primary School in Tshiawelo, Soweto.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi President Cyril Ramaphosa and his wife Dr Tshepo Motsepe voted at Tekani Primary School in Tshiawelo, Soweto.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has defended his Sunday address to the nation, saying he was closing off the sixth administration and providing an update on the state of readiness for the elections.

The address by Ramaphosa just days before the elections has become the subject of controversy, with opposition political parties accusing him of abusing his power as the head of state to campaign for his political party.

Speaking in Chiawelo, Soweto, after casting his vote on Wednesday, Ramaphosa said his address was not targeted at advancing the interests of a specific party but was highlighting what all South Africans had achieved during his term.

He said he was careful to mention that it was the achievements of “all”.

“Many parties have taken issue with the address I delivered. It had two components. One was to talk about readiness for the elections, and the other was to close off on the administration,” he said.

“The sixth administration is coming to an end and we sought to say the people of South Africa, as they go to the elections to choose whatever party they want, should be assured a great deal of work has been done by all of us. All South Africans have been involved in pushing this country forward, and I was very careful to say all of us as South Africans.”

He said he would leave it to the Electoral Court to decide whether he contravened the law.

“That is a matter that is subject to the courts. The less said, even by myself, the better. In the end those who we decided [should] adjudicate over disputes among us, our judges, are the ones who will pronounce final judgment on this matter.”

On Sunday Ramaphosa made a televised presidential address in which he highlighted his government’s successes.

He spoke about how the ANC government handled the Covid-19 pandemic and dealt with state capture, corruption, the economy and load-shedding.

The address was flighted live on several news channels, including the SABC.

The DA and the MK Party (MKP) have approached the Electoral Court to seek orders against the ANC president.

The DA wants Ramaphosa to be fined R200,000 and his party to be docked 1% of its votes.

The opposition party argued he contravened the Electoral Act, which prohibits the abuse of positions of power to influence the outcome of elections.

The DA also accused Ramaphosa of contravening the act’s section which prohibits the use of public funds for political campaigns.

The MKP made the same arguments. It accused Ramaphosa of leveraging state infrastructure for partisan gain.