Deputy President Ramaphosa told crowds he plans to tackle corruption within the ANC, while also promising "closure" over the issue of President Jacob Zuma's expected resignation.
African National Congress (ANC) leader and South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa admitted to "a period of difficulty, disunity and discord" within the party during celebrations in Cape Town on Sunday to mark the 28th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's release from prison.
Ramaphosa told crowds he wants to usher in a "new beginning" for the ruling ANC party. He also promised to tackle corruption.
He used the occasion to address the ongoing issue of President Jacob Zuma's leadership, emphasizing that the ANC under new leadership would follow Mandela's principles and values and severe action would be taken against those involved in corruption scandals.
The ANC is expected to hold a special party conference in Pretoria on Monday amid mounting pressure for Zuma to step down following numerous corruption scandals that have sparked widespread public anger.
Cyril Ramaphosa (l), Nelson Mandela (m) and Jacob Zuma (r) attend the Convention for a Democratic South Africa in 1991
'Closure' expected this week
Ramaphosa, who is expected to succeed Zuma, told the crowd that South Africans would soon have "closure" on talks to remove Zuma from office and that ruling party leaders will confirm details of a power transition during Monday's meeting.
"Because our people want this matter to be finalized, the national executive committee will be doing precisely that," he said. "It is important that we manage the discussions currently underway with care and purpose, ensuring that we put the interests of South Africa first."
Opposition parties have criticized reports of ongoing private talks between Zuma and Ramaphosa. Critics have expressed concern that Zuma may be requesting immunity from prosecution in exchange for his resignation.
The ongoing impasse over Zuma's resignation led to the cancellation of a series of public events last week, including the annual State of the Nation address on Thursday.
Subry Govender contributed to this report
im/sms (AFP, dpa, AP)