Zuma has called on South Africans to give the ANC another chance at government and called for unity to prevail at the conference.
The outgoing president of the African National Congress (ANC), Jacob Zuma, on Friday praised the seven candidates that are vying for the party’s top job, saying that the fact that so many candidates were competing showed that democracy was flourishing within the party.
Delivering a keynote address during the Progressive Business Forum’s gala dinner at Nasrec in Johannesburg, ahead of the party’s 54th national conference, Zuma said that the ANC was an organization that is more open and matured, democratically speaking.
“We have seven presidential candidates. Only the ANC can have this unique situation which is clearly demonstrating that we have more than enough talent. We are demonstrating to you democracy at work. When we rise from here, we will be as united as ever,” Zuma said.
The ANC will elect new leadership at the highly contested conference starting on Saturday.
ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, national chairperson Baleka Mbete, treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize, their fellow national executive members Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Lindiwe Sisulu, Jeff Radebe, and Matthews Phosa, are all contenders for the position of the party’s president.
Zuma reiterated his stance that he had never wanted to be president in the first place, saying that he tried in vain to run away from the responsibility and said that he would write a tell-all book about his life.
“I am going to write a book after a year and a half. You must read that book. I had to accept the task given to me by my organization. This has been an experience and a half. It’s been a very worthwhile experience for me. I thank you for all your support during my tenure as the ANC president. I thank you all for your support,” Zuma said.
Zuma also urged the government and the private sector to work together and invest in strategic sectors of the economy in a bid to help secure meaningful participation in the economy by the majority of the people.
“We want to partner with investors who understand our strategic national interest and the imperative of creating a better life for all. We need the kind of economic growth that does not only increase the value of current investments but which also increases our tangible assets,” Zuma said.
“We all need to work together and form solid and meaningful partnerships. What we must work to build is consensus on a number of things that we believe we need to do together. If we have consensus on investment decisions and directed effort, we can make a lot of progress.. We call on you as a progressive business to invest more in the economy of our country in order to create jobs, reduce poverty.”
On Saturday, Zuma will be delivering his last address as outgoing President of the ANC.
By: Siphelele Dludla/African News Agency (ANA)