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Ramaphosa pledges to work closely with newly elected KZN ANC leaders

25 July 2022 - 11:47
President Cyril Ramaphosa and newly elected ANC KwaZulu-Natal chair Sboniso Duma.
President Cyril Ramaphosa and newly elected ANC KwaZulu-Natal chair Sboniso Duma.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has congratulated the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal for holding a “disciplined and well organised” ninth elective conference.

“You have chosen leadership and I pledge myself to be able to work with them, to work together with comrades who have been elected based on trust, co-operation and working together to advance the interest of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal.”

Ramaphosa congratulated the newly elected top five provincial leaders — chair Sboniso Duma, his deputy Nomagugu Simelane, secretary Bheki Mtolo and his deputy Sipho Hlomuka, as well as treasurer Ntuthuko Mahlaba.

The party president was initially met with hostility when he arrived at the provincial elective conference in Durban on Sunday, with some pro Jacob Zuma delegates singing wenzeni uZuma (what did Zuma do?) in an attempt to embarrass him.

Ramaphosa said: “I don’t want others whispering in my ear here and there. If there is something I am expecting, let them be the first to tell me what’s going on.

“I want to thank you for having approved your credentials to this conference in 15 minutes, whereas other provinces have taken the whole day or two to approve credentials. I thank you for doing it in such a short time.”

The province was giving the ANC nationally a good example of how things should be done, and “when we go to our conference in December, the credentials should be approved in 10 minutes”.

“Once upon a time I was also a secretary, so comrade Bheki [Mtolo], you have a big job lying ahead of you. You are going to have to hold this organisation together working with the chairperson.”

Ramaphosa congratulated the additional members elected to serve in the provincial executive committee. He told delegates they have the responsibility to champion and advance the needs, interests and concerns of 11-million people who live in KZN.

“You have a big responsibility on your shoulders. That means that you have to represent the branches but you also have to report back to the branches that have tasked you to represent them here.”

He said ANC conferences often tended to be inwardly focused. “They are often concerned with contests of leadership and dynamics within our organisation. We need to change that. We need to make our conferences about the people of our country and the people we are committed to unite, organise and to serve.”

In his view, KZN has always shown leadership on a number of issues that affect the ANC as a whole. “You have always been leaders in showing a path to the future that our organisation should take. We must emerge from this conference with a clear programme and an undivided commitment to improve the lives of our people in KwaZulu-Natal.”

The fundamental purpose of the conference must be to advance the realisation of the Freedom Charter, he said.

“We can debate policy and elect leaders but unless we use this conference to advance the struggles contained in the Freedom Charter, this conference could be a waste of time and have no reason.”

He said delegates were committed.

Turning to the delegates singing wenzeni uZuma, Ramaphosa said: “When you raise issues, you should never think they fall on deaf ears. As part of this unitary movement we all belong to, KwaZulu-Natal is an important component.

“I am glad you continue to raise issues in the disciplined way KwaZulu-Natal always raises issues. You have distinguished yourself as a province.

“Now that the leadership baton has been passed to comrade Duma and others, I am confident KwaZulu-Natal will continue on the same path of being a disciplined component of the ANC.

“We all know only a strong and united ANC is capable of transforming society and convincing the people of our country to continue placing their trust in us.”

Ramaphosa said the ANC has been concerned about the state of its branches for a long time. “We’ve had a concern about the weakness of our branches and have wished and longed for strong branches that will continue to represent our people at the lowest level.”

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