Delegates sing Zuma song as Ramaphosa arrives at ANC KZN conference

File Picture: ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)

File Picture: ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 24, 2022


Durban - ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday arrived at the Olive Convention Centre for the provincial elective conference and was accompanied into the venue by newly elected ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Sboniso Duma and his leadership team.

Ramaphosa was met with delegates singing 'Wenzeni uZuma?', meaning ‘What has Zuma done?’.

The majority of the plenary joined in the singing. Newly elected deputy chairperson Nomagagu Simelane called for delegates to sit so they could continue with the programme but delegates continued to sing.

As Ramaphosa was seated, two members of the presidential protection unit stood behind him, while others were in close proximity.

Eventually, Duma asked for people to sit down so that they could continue with the programme.

But when Duma said the president of the ANC had joined them, there were boos from some delegates, with some chanting “change” which is believed to symbolise the change in leadership that has taken place at the conference.

Ramaphosa sat with arms folded and smiled as some delegates waved at him.

Duma told delegates that Ramaphosa believes KZN is one of biggest provinces and felt that he had to personally address the plenary.

“Whoever loves the ANC, as a disciplined member of the ANC, will behave. We understand whatever issues we have will be addressed at the policy conference next week and at the elective conference in December.

“You had a chance to sing the song you wanted to, now let the president speak,” Duma said.

As Ramaphosa took to the podium, delegates started to settle down.

“Truth be told, as soon as results were announced I tried to call him (Duma) but he was busy. But we finally spoke at 8am this morning,” Ramaphosa said.

“My own programme was a little mixed and it looked like I was not going to be able to come but, later, we spoke again, and my programme had loosened up and I was able to come.”

Ramaphosa congratulated delegates for holding such a disciplined, well-organised conference.

“I also want to thank you for having approved your credentials in 15 minutes whereas other provinces have taken a whole day or two.”

Ramaphosa congratulated Duma, Simelane, secretary Bheki Mtolo, deputy secretary Sipho Hlomuka and treasurer Ntuthuko Mahlaba.

“You have chosen a leadership and I pledge myself to be able to work with them, based on trust, on co-operation and working to advance the interest of the ANC in KZN.

“Last Sunday we gathered to bid farewell to Jessie Duarte and the movement was deeply saddened by her untimely death.

“As we reflect on her life there is much to inspire us. She was driven by a deep love for her people and her country. She dedicated her life to freedom and development and welfare of our people,” Ramaphosa said.

He told delegates that the fundamental purpose of such conferences was to advance the struggle for the freedoms that are contained in the Freedom Charter.

Ramaphosa raised the issue of the country’s unemployment crisis and spoke of economic reforms to boost growth and job creation.

“All of us are hugely unhappy with the load shedding we have all been experiencing in recent weeks and this has demonstrated the need for urgent reforms. While we have embarked on several measures to increase generation of capacity, this has not been enough.”

Ramaphosa said they would soon be announcing initiatives to ensure energy security in the coming months.

Regarding the lack of progress on his social compact promise, Ramaphosa said the process has been “slow and at times quite difficult”.

“We have lived with this problem for a number of years. While we don’t have an over-arching social compact we are making progress,” Ramaphosa said.

He was heavily criticised recently by former president Thabo Mbeki who said that Ramaphosa had failed to deliver on his promise of a social compact, 100 days after Ramaphosa set himself the deadline at the State of the Nation address in February.

“For radical economic transformation to be successful we need to address each of these objectives... to foster transformation and bring more black people into the economy,” Ramaphosa said.

He said differences should not allow party members to regard each other as enemies and prevent them from working with each other and that conferences should unite the party and not divide it.

“I was impressed when comrade Duma said there would be no purging of political opponents. What unites us is the African National Congress,” Ramaphosa said.