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‘Nine wasted years’ is a myth – Mantashe counters Ramaphosa’s sentiments

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The African National Congress (ANC) chairperson addressed a crowd in the Northern Cape, contradicting President Cyril Ramaphosa’s sentiments of having nine wasted years.

During the People’s Manifesto on Monday, 25 March 2019, in Laxey, Northern Cape, the ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe told the crowd that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s claim that the nine years under former President Jacob Zuma were a waste was not true.

President Cyril Ramaphosa first made that statement at the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January 2019. He again reiterated the same sentiments during the current campaign period. The sentiments were shared by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, who said the years under Zuma’s leadership were wasted and destroyed confidence amongst investors in South Africa.

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“When you destroy investors’ confidence, the natural consequence of that is that investment dries up. Post-2017, confidence has been returning to South Africa, policy uncertainty is being removed and greater certainty is coming back,” Mboweni said in Davos.

It would seem the ruling party is fumbling in the dark and trying to remove blame from itself. Not only is Mantashe contradicting the president, but the president is also contradicting himself. When former President Jacob Zuma hit back shortly after the “wasted years” claims, Ramaphosa reneged his earlier sentiments and later said the ANC had “moved SA forward in a meaningful way over the past few years.”

Mantashe stood up for Zuma’s leadership, listing all the advances that South Africa made under his presidency.

“It was under the leadership of president Jacob Zuma that there was a stronger focus on education. We split education into basic education and higher education, and that focus improved our performance. We must tick, that is not wasted. Access to ARVs, a war against HIV/Aids was intensified under this leadership.

“We can list them; health, education, agriculture, you can say the last four years were difficult. That problem is what we call a desert in the journey and we’ll never destroy ourselves because of what we call a patch of a desert. We must go through that desert, re-energise ourselves. When we talk of the new dawn, we talk of coming out of the darkness and we come out into a dawn. When we get into that dawn, we get into a light, when we get into that light, we put all our energy in improving our society,” he said.

Mantashe also warned against ANC leaders making different announcements and sharing different sentiments on the same issue.

Abenathi Gqomo
[email protected]

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