South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has vowed to clean the African National Congress (ANC) of “all bad tendencies” in a bid to end corruption.
In a victory speech in Johannesburg, he thanked voters and said they had sent a “clear message”.
Mr Ramaphosa said that the party’s lowest ever score of 58% was due to voters expressing their frustration.
He promised he would not choose leaders who work “to fill their own pockets”.
The ANC has been in power since Nelson Mandela was elected following the end of white-minority rule 25 years ago.
A struggling economy, corruption and mass unemployment, particularly among young people, led to the ANC’s reduced majority in this election.
President Ramaphosa took over the ANC party leadership from Jacob Zuma in 2017, who was forced to resign following a series of corruption scandals. He denies any wrongdoing.
President Ramaphosa said he would address these concerns. “As the leadership, we are going to go back to all those communities which were raising issues,” he said.
“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 added.
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa is talking tough.
At the African National Congress victory speech, Mr Ramaphosa promised to end corruption “whether some people like it or not”.
He is referring to members of his own party, which has, in the last decade, been dogged by corruption allegations under the leadership of Jacob Zuma.
The ANC won last week’s general election by its smallest margin since 1994. Still, many in the party are relieved and have attributed the party’s success to Mr Ramaphosa, who campaigned on a ticket of bringing renewal to the party.
And he has a huge task ahead of him: Trim down his bloated cabinet and deliver on his promise to end the culture of corruption within the party. “We will nail them” he said.
But the ANC is hugely divided, from top to bottom, with many still backing Mr Zuma.
This will not be an easy task, but Mr Ramaphosa is possibly at his strongest now – off the back of this win. His detractors within the party have been bruised and, for now, humbled.
There will never be a better time to act than now. South Africa is not only waiting, it is watching.