President Ramaphosa spells out his vision for South Africa

In his State of the Nation Address a day after being named South Africa’s new president, Cyril Ramaphosa said no one will be spared in the new anti-corruption fight and those found guilty will be jailed.

Political office will no longer shield the corrupt from the long arms of law and criminal justice system will be strengthened to ensure that no one proved to be corrupt escapes criminal prosecution.

Ramaphosa told authorities concerned to take action against members who have acted improperly and unethically.

Investigation agencies should continue their work against state capture, he said, referring to systemic political corruption indulged in by his predecessor Jacob Zuma and his associates like in the case of the financial scandal linked to Vrede dairy farm project in the Free State.

Ramaphosa underlined the need to revive the stagnant economy, address unemployment among youth and control rising government debt.

People should shed all the negativity that has dogged them because a new dawn has arrived, he said.

Tough decisions have to be made to close the fiscal gap, stabilise debt and restore state-owned enterprises to health, he said.

The president announced the setting up of a commission of inquiry into tax administration and governance at South African Revenue Service (Sars). Last year saw a fall in tax collection and the commission will restore the credibility of the service, he said.

The most pressing challenge for the new government is generating jobs for youth, he said.

Opposition parties reacted warmly to the speech, AFP reported. The liberal Democratic Alliance hailed the business-friendly policies, and the radical opposition Economic Freedom Fighters appreciated pro-black land redistribution plans.

Narend Singh of the Inkatha Freedom Party said Ramaphosa has returned faith in members of parliament and in South Africans.