Cape Town - Newly-elected African National Congress president Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday began his address at the Grand Parade in Cape Town by paying tribute to the ANC's alliance partners, the SA Communist Party, Congress of SA Trade Unions, and South African National Civic Organisation, as well as party veterans.
In an obvious show of unity, Ramaphosa acknowledged all the alliance partners whose relations with the ANC had become frosty under the leadership of his predecessor President Jacob Zuma.
However, since his election in December, Ramaphosa has actively sought to mend fences. The ANC leadership sparked rising demands for the removal of Zuma as president of South Africa. The beleaguered president, who has stubbornly refused to stand down, was conspicious by his absence from the event.
Ramaphosa was speaking at the centenary celebrations of former statesman Nelson Mandela, who was released from Victor Verster Prison on this day in 1990 after 27 years in jail. He urged South Africans to emulate the values and vision set out by Mandela, who died in December 2013.
"This year gives us an opportunity to reaffirm our vision of a non-racial society to build a South Africa that belongs to all our people, black and whilte," said Ramaphosa who delivered his speech in multiple languages, including Afrikaans. He said this year was an opportunity to reflect on the past and right the wrongs.
The ANC's national executive committee (NEC) - the party's highest decision-making body between conferences - has been summoned to an emergency meeting on Monday, believed to be to deal with the Zuma "transition of power" matter.
African News Agency/ANA