Former minister of finance Pravin Gordhanhas nailed his colours firmly to the mast of Cyril Ramaphosa, saying the deputy president presents hope for South Africa and the ANC.
He told Talk Radio 702's Eusebius Mackaiser during an interview on Tuesday that his hope "would be significantly dimmed" should Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma become ANC leader in December.
"Hope will come from Ramaphosa. I believe he poses the best chance (for the country and the ANC) in his personality, in the team that he might assemble and the programmes that he might implement," Gordhan said.
The former minister, who was fired by President Jacob Zuma in March, said he hasn't heard anything from the Dlamini-Zuma camp which fills him with confidence. "I have heard nothing which says South Africa (under her leadership) will be different from the one we have had over the last five years. I don't want to experience the same as we did the last five years where we see decline and where the economy is positioned in such a way that sees the majority of people continually miss out."
Gordhan said anybody that is elected as ANC leader needs to be committed to a firm set of principles based on the ANC's mission of uniting South Africans. With reference to Ramaphosa he said the deputy president is the type of leader the country needs and that "a better proposition would be hard to find."
According to the former minister Rampahosa has the right mix of experience, including his time as a trade unionist, member of the United Democratic Front and as a businessman. "But it's not only about the individual, it's about the team (Ramaphosa will assemble), it's about the ability to implement ANC policy and it's about determining what they would do differently . . ."
The ANC's national elective conference in December provides the opportunity for the party "to excise the rot". He told Mckaiser that the ANC can be saved and that it can buck the trend of African liberation parties that start to lose the trust of its supporters 20 years after liberation. "Hope for the party lies in producing the right leadership and the right type of cadre . . . hope lies in doing the right thing and then having people see we're doing the right thing."
He also spoke widely about the controversial KPMG report into SARS and the effects it had on the institution, saying the magnitude of of the damage is "massive". The audit firm, Gordhan said, were "willing partners" in the state capture project. "It is very clear that the state capture project is alive and well, it is consistent and persistent. It is growing."
Gordhan explained that the KPMG report was an instrument "in the hands of state capturers" which gave them and their actions legitimacy, helped them cover-up their actions and enabled law-enforcement agencies to act against individuals who had done nothing wrong. "This while others in government continue to get away."
But, he added, this won't last forever. "South Africans are starting to demand accountability . . . they are asking questions. This won't last forever. I can see that in 10 years' time we will have something like the 'truth commission' where people will come to explain what they did. The damage that some people are doing to institutions, with institutional destruction, they will have to answer for it."