JOHANNESBURG -- South Africa's ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), has made a few strides in bringing a new era of hope and optimism since December, when it elected a new leadership line-up, but the rot remains, says Minister of State Enterprises Pravin Gordhan.

Addressing family and friends of prominent anti-apartheid campaigner Ahmed Kathrada during the first anniversary since his death here Wednesday, Gordhan said: Corruption is still happening, it isn't gone yet. It's time to start reporting corrupt directors of state entities and companies.

"We need to blacklist them and we need to bring back the slogan 'Pay back the money'. There is indeed a lot of work to do. The money looted in the last ten years needs to be recovered to restore the credibility of the ANC.

All our SOEs (State-owned enterprises) are in a form of rot, in one way or another. This is the beginning of the struggle to recover from the losses of the last 10 years.

"But there is no doubt Nasrec (convention centre, where the ANC held its 54th national elective conference in December 2017 when Cyril Ramphosa was elected party president, succeeding Jacob Zuma) has introduced a new era in our country and a wave of optimism.

Gordhan said it was important to restore the ANC to the ANC of struggle heroes like Ahmed Kathrada.

ANC veteran Reverend Frank Chikane recalled his chat with Kathrada about the state of the ANC when Kathrada wrote the letter asking then president Jacob Zuma to step down.

Chikane said Kathrada told him: You know, I never thought I would do something like this in my life. Chikane suggested it was not easy for Kathrada to write about the party he lived for all his life, but believed it was necessary.

The ANC needs to cleanse itself from this blot in history, he said.

Kathrada's widow Barbara Hogan recalled how Kathrada was pained by the state of the ANC during Zuma's presidency. She said: Kathy found it difficult to write that letter (referring to his letter asking former president Jacob Zuma to resign).