African National Congress president Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: @MYANC/Twitter

Durban – African National Congress president Cyril Ramaphosa has told those who contested positions during the KwaZulu-Natal ANC conference over the past three days that they were not winners or losers, but the party was the ultimate winner.

“We say to the comrades who did not make it - you did not lose. To the comrades that made it - you did not win. The ANC is the only winner here. The ANC is united,” Ramaphosa told delegates gathered at the Durban University of Technology on Saturday in his closing address.

The conference was a re-run of the 2015 provincial conference that was declared invalid by the Pietermaritzburg High Court last year after it was contested by a group of disgruntled branches.

An attempt to re-run the conference last month had to be aborted after the same court granted an interim interdict that found the attempted re-run to be “premature and unlawful”. Unhappy ANC members again tried to interdict the conference on Thursday as delegates were undergoing registration. That application was dismissed with costs.

Ramaphosa said those who contested and were not successful had told him they had accepted the outcomes. He told delegates he expected them to do the same, and urged them to restore the integrity of the ANC and regain the confidence of the people.

“We join the ANC to build a South Africa where all our people are equal and free. We must respond to the aspirations, dreams, and hopes of the people of KwaZulu-Natal,” he said.

Uniting the ANC was not just a declaration made at the party’s 54th national conference, but a “tireless and continuous” and personal commitment that had to be “injected” into the party’s structures. Unity had to be approached in a radical way, he said.

“We do not work on a mandate of our choosing; we work on the mandate of the ANC. We must develop a love for those that we work with. We are comrades.” Nothing else mattered besides the success of the ANC.

Ramaphosa said it was each ANC member’s duty to represent the ANC in the run-up to next year’s general election. He urged members to “speak, walk, and sleep” as if they were the president of the ANC and to focus on the election “without fail”.

To galvanise the province’s structures for the national election, every home and citizen should be visited. “Wherever they turn, people must see the ANC by their side.”

Final results for the top five leadership positions as elected at the conference are: chairman Sihle Zikalala; deputy chair Mike Mabuyakhulu; secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli; deputy secretary Sipho Hlomuka; and treasurer Nomusa Dube-Ncube.

African News Agency/ANA