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Potchefstroom - Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe appeared calm as he arrived in Potchefstroom on Thursday to deliver a lecture on the life of ANC president Jacob Zuma amid chants and songs praising the latter.
But, outside the Madiba Banquet Hall, there were reports that those who endorse his candidacy in Mangaung had been barred from attending the event because they did not have accreditation.
“There were lots of security officials and they didn’t stand a chance and, after a while, they retreated,” a witness said.
Earlier, at the other end of Potchefstroom in Ikageng township, ANC North West secretary Kabelo Mataboge had chaired a meeting of branches from across the province that have lodged disputes on the outcome of a conference where Zuma was nominated for Mangaung.
Mataboge, a known Motlanthe supporter, took disgruntled party members through the nomination processes.
He told them how they had ended up not being part of a conference last Sunday.
Mataboge said that while nomination documents from branches had been sent to the provincial office, regional secretaries had been running a parallel process.
“That’s how you ended up not being delegates.”
Motlanthe, when he took to the podium inside the Potchefstroom hall on Thursday to deliver the last in the ruling party’s centenary lecture series on the lives of its presidents, received a cold reception from the crowd.
In his lecture, Motlanthe did not digress much from the prepared speech as he praised Zuma and his leadership.
He spoke in detail on how his ANC boss had grown up herding cattle in rural KwaZulu-Natal, and touched on his efforts to try to acquire a formal education at an older age.
Motlanthe spoke about Zuma’s rise through the ANC’s political ranks up to his leadership of South Africa.
He reminisced about his meeting with Zuma in Swaziland at the height of the struggle for freedom and how they had spoken about Robben Island.
“I got my induction on how to behave and what to do in Robben Island from [Zuma]. Conditions in Robben Island were extremely brutal and the assault of prisoners was a common sight,” he said.
“On Robben Island [Zuma] and many of his peers were taught many subjects, ranging from politics, philosophy, economics and many other disciplines. This prepared [Zuma] to be a seasoned freedom fighter…
“President Zuma’s life is exemplary of how positive thinking thrives against all odds.”
Motlanthe also praised Zuma for his contribution to ensuring peace and stability in KwaZulu-Natal, adding that it was his negotiation skills that saw him deliver the Burundi peace agreement in 2002. - The Star