President Cyril Ramaphosa has hinted that he may run for a second term as President of the African National Congress (ANC) when its next national conference is held in 2022.
Ramaphosa dropped the hint during a question-and-answer session with the South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) in Cape Town on Tuesday afternoon.
News24 journalist Tshidi Madia asked Ramaphosa whether he would still be “at the helm” to continue building the ANC’s vision of a capable and developmental state.
‘The same thing might happen’
The President replied, “I was elected by a collective at a conference [of the ANC] and the collective said, we’re putting you in this position, and the same thing might happen in 2024. So, stick around – you may see this movie again.”
Ramaphosa was elected ANC President at a closely fought contest in 2017 when he edged out Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma by less than 200 votes.
The ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) subsequently compelled former President Jacob Zuma to resign as state President, paving the way for Ramaphosa to take over the reins.
However, Zuma’s allies have remained powerful in the party. Speculation is also growing that Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu could challenge Ramaphosa at the 2022 conference.
Recession ‘not a surprise’
During his engagement with SANEF, Ramaphosa also reacted to news that South Africa has entered a technical recession after two quarters of negative economic growth.
He said, “The poor growth figures for the last quarter are not pleasing, but at the same time, they could not have come as a shock or surprise to us because the signs were there.”
The President said the signs included load shedding and its impact on production, the drought-induced poor performance of the agricultural sector, and low business and consumer confidence.
He said the coronavirus outbreak may also negatively affect economic growth through lower travel and tourism.
Ramaphosa added, “But the recession underlines the urgent need for us as a country to embark and continue on the measures that we announced in SONA [State of the Nation Address].”
He reiterated his administration’s commitment to implementing economic reforms and realising the social compacts required to deliver inclusive growth.