15/12/2016 11:49 SAST | Updated 15/12/2016 12:27 SAST

Ramaphosa Finally Comes Out And Says He's Ready To Lead The ANC

"Money has come to play a very bad role in the ANC; people's votes are bought and patronage has become the order of the day. All those deviant tendencies need to be curbed."

Edgar Su / Reuters
Ramaphosa says he's "available to stand" for president.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says he is available to take on the position of president of the ANC in 2017 should he garner enough support to do so.

"It would be very humbling to get into a key position like that, to lead," said Ramaphosa. "I am available to stand," he said.

He made the comments on Wednesday on radio station Power FM, which were later reported by News24.

Ramaphosa has been increasingly vocal concerning the leadership of the ANC.

Speaking at a Nelson Mandela Foundation event earlier this month, the usually reticent leader took on patronage in the ANC, supported the veterans calls for organisational renewal, and stopped short of completely slamming President Jacob Zuma's leadership in what seemed like an indication that he is ready to contend for the top position.

In November, Cosatu endorsed Ramaphosa as its preferred candidate to lead the ANC once President Jacob Zuma's tenure ends in December 2017.

He also discussed a number of issues including the 20-year celebration of the signing of the Constitution into law, his role in the Marikana tragedy, the ANC troubles and the State of Capture report.

Ramaphosa, who has been criticised for failing to speak out against the president and the government over a number of issues, said he was a disciplined cadre of the ANC and believed its issues should be dealt with internally.

"I believe things that happen in the ANC family must be handled there," Ramaphosa said.

The ANC must remain united as it has in the past, he added.

He credited unity for the achievements of the ANC through its history.

Vote buying and patronage

Ramaphosa also had firm criticism for those who manipulated processes ahead of elective conferences.

"Money has come to play a very bad role in the ANC; people's votes are bought and patronage has become the order of the day. All those deviant tendencies need to be curbed," he said.

He said it was time to put into practice resolutions on the issue taken at the last conference, as well as at the party's national general council in order to curb the trend.

It is time to focus on those buying branches and votes, he continued.

The ANC's secretary-general Gwede Mantashe has said six people have made themselves available to lead the ANC from 2016 going forward.

Responding to questions about challenges facing the ANC, Ramaphosa said movements sometimes go through difficult times and that the 104-year-old movement has had its fair share.

"Leaders are realising we have not handled matters as well as we should have," he said.

He said the party had resolved to handle corruption, to get rid of arrogance, patronage and other deviant behaviour.

The ANC needed to operate in a way that focused on meeting the needs of the people, instead of its own, said Ramaphosa.

"I am very clear on that; that is the type of leadership we need, that members yearn for, that the country is yearning for," he said.

Ramaphosa said he would embark on a tour of party branches to hear views on whether members believe he is the right person to lead or not.

He said he is also aware that there would be alternative views from Cosatu.