Friday 23rd Mar 2018

By Nico Gous - SowetanLIVE -

President Cyril Ramaphosa and Deputy President David Mabuza on Sunday extended an olive branch to EFF leader Julius Malema and others‚ urging them to return “home” to the ANC.

“We would love to have Julius Malema back in the ANC. He is still ANC down‚ deep in his heart‚” Ramaphosa said. He also urged others to rejoin the ANC. “The ANC is the home of many political parties that splintered out of it and we would like to build unity amongst all our people.”

Mabuza said earlier on Sunday he had a “special space in my heart” for Malema. “We had times together. He knows. When he was in the ANC‚ I supported him to be the president of the Youth League and I remember comrade Julius saying‚ ‘My blood is black‚ green and gold. I will never leave the ANC’.” Mabuza added: “I feel the ANC has lost in comrade Julius. The ANC will be better off with him inside the fold‚ so I am going to do my best to request him to reconsider coming back home.”

Ramaphosa and Mabuza were on the campaign trail in Pretoria and Centurion on Sunday. The Electoral Commission (IEC) this weekend held a registration drive and address update campaign in preparation for the 2019 national and provincial elections.

Ramaphosa said the ANC was willing to work with political parties that had similar ideologies and policies to the ANC. “I have always been open to receiving back those who have left and formed new parties.”

Ramaphosa said the ANC aimed to win back the Tshwane‚ Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay metros in the general elections next year which they lost in the 2016 municipal elections. “They are in our palm and all we need to do is to close our hand and all the metros are back under the African National Congress’s control.”