Little fanfare as ANC leaders arrive for January 8 statement
ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa and the rest of the party's new leadership collective arrived for their first January 8 statement event without much fanfare.
The leaders did not walk a lap around the field at the East London Absa Stadium‚ and merely moved swiftly onto the stage where they danced and joined in singing with the crowd about unity.
The programme officially kicked off on time‚ in contrast with previous ANC events where it has been the norm for the start to often be delayed by several hours.
Before the top leadership arrived‚ the thousands of ANC supporters gathered in the stadium sang different songs in support of Ramaphosa.
The interfaith prayers started ahead of what it was scheduled. Secretary General Ave Magashule said on Friday Ramaphosa would start his address exactly at 11am.
Oscar Mabuyane‚ ANC chairman in the Eastern Cape‚ welcomed all of the ANC members to the province he leads.
"Our 54th president has given us as South Africans a renewed sense of hope‚" Mabuyane said.
Mabuyane said the ANC should be renewed as a party and that it should be rooted among its people.
Mabuyane made it clear that "we must be less preoccupied with ourselves".
The National Executive Committee's January 8 statement is set to provide the party with a way forward for 2018.
President Jacob Zuma and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta were expected to attend the celebrations.