President Jacob Zuma at the ANC's 54th National Conference.
Image: Masi Losi

President Jacob Zuma has begun delivering his very last speech as the leader of the African National Congress at the elective conference in Nasrec‚ southern Johannesburg.

After lengthy and emotional prayers delivered by religious leaders‚ programme director Baleka Mbete finally called on Zuma to address the conference‚ after the singing of the national anthem.

In his speech‚ Zuma reminded the ANC of the journey it had taken in 2017‚ remembering the longest-serving president of the ANC‚ Oliver Reginald Tambo.

He described Tambo as a unifier of people who kept the ANC together for many decades in exile.

“We express our sincere gratitude to all who were part of the celebration of the life and times of OR Tambo throughout the country‚ the continent and the globe‚” Zuma said.

“As we begin this conference in which we must attend to enormous challenges facing our movement and our country‚ we are reminded of comrade OR Tambo’s council when he delivered his political report in Durban in June 1991‚ when he said ‘we did not tear ourselves apart because of lack of progress at times. We were always ready to accept our mistakes and correct them.’”


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