Johannesburg - Outgoing president of the African National Congress (ANC), Jacob Zuma, on Monday said that he was satisfied with the contribution he made in the party for the past 10 years as president despite the challenges he faced.
Speaking after a walkabout at the Nasrec Expo Centre, in Johannesburg, where the ANC is holding its 54th national conference, Zuma said that he was happy with the conduct of the delegates at the conference and how the event was proceeding.
"I'm happy to say now that I'm bowing out very happy because I think, from my own point of view, I made my contribution. There is not enough that you can say that I did everything," Zuma said.
"I know that the ANC - because of its history, because of its size - when it meets, generally, it has been quite hard and we appreciate that because, in a sense, it tells us where the ANC is in the situation in South Africa. The conference has been going very smooth. The ANC delegates are indeed acting as [they] always do, very robust and very radical because they want the best outcome for the ANC."
Outgoing ANC president Jacob Zuma addresses the media after his walkabout at the Nasrec Expo Centre where the party is holding its 54th national conference to elect new leadership. Video: Siphelele Dludla/ANA
During his walk at the exhibition centre, Zuma greeted and shook hands with representatives of South African companies like Nedbank, Vodacom, Telkom, Multichoice, MTN, CellC, as well as the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, where he posed for photographs with a poster of late former president Nelson Mandela.
Zuma also reiterated the message he delivered on Friday, during a gala dinner that the huge number of presidential candidates proved that democracy was flourishing within the party.
The ANC on Monday will announce its new top six officials following overnight elections and voting by more than 4,000 party delegates. ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC MP Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma are contesting to succeed Zuma as the 13th ANC president.
Ramaphosa, also the deputy president of the republic, received 1,469 nominations from six provinces for president, while Dlamini-Zuma, a former cabinet minister and African Union Commission chairwoman, received 1,094 nominations.
Other candidates included party heavyweights Jeff Radebe, Zweli Mkhize, Matthews Phosa, Lindiwe Sisulu, and Baleka Mbete, but they fell through.
"It's the first national conference that we had seven presidential candidates, which in our view expresses very confidently the democratic nature of the ANC. That we do not say the leadership is for a few, but branches have the last say. That is why democratically when the branches say we think you must lead," Zuma said.
"I don't think you have seen an organisation like that in this country. There isn't, and there isn't about to be any." Some of the organisations only one person contests. But in the ANC it is open. But it also indicates another point, that we are not short of leaders in the ANC who could become presidents."