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Ramaphosa says “we have learnt our lesson, we have heard the people of South Africa”

South Africa’s ruling ANC, which won May 8 general elections with an historic low score amid anger over corruption and joblessness, has “learnt our lesson”, President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also party leader, said Sunday.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa says the ruling ANC has 'learnt our lesson' from its poorest election showing yet (Picture by AFP)
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa says the ruling ANC has ‘learnt our lesson’ from its poorest election showing yet (Picture by AFP)

“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 percent of the electorate that opted to give the ANC another chance — enough for an outright majority with 230 seats out of 400 in parliament.

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 May 25. AFP