Johannesburg - African National Congress members are not divided between supporters of President Jacob Zuma and his deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe, executive committee member Jeff Radebe said on Thursday.
“Let us clarify this so that we can take the elephant out of the room. There are no Zuma supporters or Kgalema supporters - people support the ANC,” he told reporters at Midrand.
Radebe denied that the two groups of delegates that confronted each other on Thursday afternoon sang about their feelings about Zuma, despite eyewitness reports and video recordings of the stand-off.
One large group sang “uZuma, second transition” and “bao ba sa batleng Zuma, ba chechele morao” (those who don't want Zuma should hold back) in support of the president.
In response, a smaller group sang “bayozabalaza” (they will protest) and chanted “change, change”.
The pro-Zuma group sang loudly while dancing through the hall where ANC Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe was visiting Progressive Business Forum stalls during lunch.
A document on the second transition is one of the ANC's 13 policy documents under discussion at the four-day conference. Radebe said the commissions had accepted the “content and the thrust” of the second transition document, despite media reports earlier that several provinces had rejected it.
“In the commissions there are no groupings (based on the leadership debate). People are coming from their branches with their mandates... That is precisely what we have seen,” he said.
“We are coming from the plenary session of the national policy conference... what I have just delivered to you (on the second transition) is what the branches of the ANC had decided.”
NEC member Tony Yengeni denied the second transition document was linked to Zuma's campaign for a second term as president, saying those who made the assertion were “mischievous”. - Sapa