East London - President Jacob Zuma was given a frosty welcome this morning as he arrived at the ANC’s 106th birthday celebrations currently underway in East London.
Some of the thousands of ANC supporters who packed the Buffalo City stadium booed at least twice after Zuma arrived at the stadium.
The first booing was when his face was beamed on the two large screens as he took a seat among NEC members seated on stage.
By virtue of being a former party president, Zuma serves as an ex-officio member of the ANC’s highest decision making body.
After Zuma was seated ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe acknowledged Zuma’s arrival but once again this was met with booes and signs of change akin to those normally seen in a football match.
In contrast Kenyatta, who was acknowledged after Zuma, received very loud cheers from the crowd.
Earlier on ANC members had booed when MC Putco Mafani mentioned his name. The event formally started before at about 9.30 am but Zuma arrived an hour late.
Mantashe quipped that there was now a new man in town and “if you arrive late you lose out”, he said to loud cheers.
It is estimated that more than 20 000 people are attending the event with the stadium and the adjacent overflow stadium filling up before 9am this morning.
ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa started delivering the January 8th statement after 11 am.