Immediately after sweeping to a decisive victory for a second term as ANC leader, President Jacob Zuma made a surprise address to the elective conference in Mangaung, calling delegates to set aside differences and unite behind the new leadership. In a statesman-like message, Zuma used the captive audience to try and put aside the differences which besieged the party in the run up to the ANC’s 53rd national conference in Mangaung.
“For members of the ANC to have preferences is their democratic right…contestation for leadership is part of the democratic culture…once elections have taken place and branches have spoken, that is the decision of all of us,” Zuma said.
“More important than all of us is the ANC. Once the ANC has spoken, we must look at how we treat one another. I don’t want after elections that comrades who are part of us must feel they (are) outside the organisation,” Zuma said to cheers from delegates.
Although his camp marched to an overwhelming victory over the Forces of Change which campaigned for his removal, Zuma extended an olive branch.
“I don’t think we should continue to say some things – which I don’t want to say – which will make another comrade feel uncomfortable…It must be a united organisation, not a divided organisation.”