In a final mea culpa moment for the ANC days before SA heads to the polls, President Cyril Ramaphosa took a hard stance on corruption, promising that those found guilty and involved in state capture, will not hold public office.
Ramaphosa told thousands of ANC supporters on Sunday that the “era of impunity” was over.
“We will fight with every means at our disposal to ensure that those who occupy positions of authority serve only the public interest and our people, not their own pockets and themselves,”
“But the road ahead is long, and there is still much to do.”
Along with not serving in government, Ramaphosa said those found guilty of corruption and involved in state capture would not serve in the ANC either.
The ANC president however, expected that there would be
"resistance from those who have benefited from wrongdoing."
Despite this he was emphatic that they would be held accountable.
"We are restoring the rule of law," Ramaphosa said.
The ANC came under heavy criticism earlier this year when it released its list of candidates for national and provincial government to the Electoral Commission of SA.
The list included those implicated in state capture and corruption and had lied under oath such as Nomvula Mokonyane, Malusi Gigaba, Mosebenzi Zwane and Bathabile Dlamini.
This weekend marked the final big push by SA’s political parties with the biggest three – the ANC, DA and the EFF – holding their closing rallies in Gauteng.
The province, which is SA’s economic hub, is expected to be the battleground in the general elections.
Opposition parties hope to push the ANC below the majority of support in the province, in which it won just below 54% of the support in the 2014 general elections.
The ANC has however set its sights on increasing support in the province which took a huge knock under the leadership of former president Jacob Zuma who has become the face of the state capture project.
The party’s national support has consistently declined since 2009. In 2014 it won 62% of the national vote, which fell from 69.69% in 2009. Both the DA and the EFF hope to respectively grow their support. The DA wants to improve on the 22% it received in 2014, and the EFF, which is contesting its second national election, aim to grow its support from 6% to 14% in these elections.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane on Saturday, at the DA’s final rally, called on voters to be brave and vote for his party.
He said South Africans had good reason to be disappointed and to feel let down by “the people who were meant to deliver and protect our freedom.”
In a clear jibe to the ANC, which was SA’s liberation movement, Maimane said “one cannot help but wonder how the generation that sacrificed so much for our freedom throughout the struggle would feel about how things turned out today.”
Maimane said he was angry that those who were elected to lead South Africa, ended up “looting” from it.
He hit out against Ramaphosa, whose presence has boosted the ANC on the election trail, saying that he was deputy president while the state was being looted through the state capture project.
The EFF held its final rally at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Sunday, where its leader Julius Malema delivered the keynote address, the day after his grandmother Koko Sarah Malema, the woman who raised him died.
Malema lashed out at the ANC for turning SA into what he described as a zombie state, and claimed most of Gauteng’s townships as the EFF's support base.
He said the EFF had shaken the ANC in its traditional stronghold provinces of Gauteng, Limpopo, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal KZN, North West and Northern Cape.
“They thought we are a Mickey Mouse organisation, now they realise we are a force to be reckoned with. You can’t talk about South Africa’s future without the EFF. We are the future of South Africa,"
“Five years looks like this,” said Malema, scanning the packed stadium, “who would have imagined that today we are finishing five years.”