President Jacob Zuma warned ANC members in KwaZulu-Natal on Friday not to become arrogant because of the province's strength within the ruling party.
“Being a leading ANC province comes with many challenges,” he told delegates at the party's provincial congress in Newcastle.
“Behave in a manner which is not factional... Behave in a manner devoid of any arrogance because of your strength.”
Zuma said the province needed to set an example for the rest of the ANC.
“Other provinces will be looking at this province on issues affecting the ANC... the province must lead by example.”
KwaZulu-Natal, Zuma's home province and biggest support base, is the ANC's strongest province with 252 668 members.
Zuma urged delegates to focus on the party's policies during the weekend congress, and how to put them into practice – not on the succession debate.
“You do not start (a conference) by discussing the leadership.” Earlier, Zuma received a thunderous welcome from delegates.
As Zuma walked towards the stage, accompanied by provincial chairman Zweli Mkhize and Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale, the crowd roared his name and stomped their feet.
“Zuma, Zuma, Zuma,” reverberated around the Newcastle Show Hall. Delegates sang songs in support of Zuma.
Suspended police commissioner Bheki Cele arrived to a warm greeting on Friday. As he walked through the crowd delegates chanted “Ndosi”, his clan name.
Transport minister and national executive committee (NEC) member Sbu Ndebele and NEC member Bathabile Dlamini also attended the congress. – Sapa