5 things you missed at the ANC conference so far

2017-12-18 07:27
President Jacob Zuma during his address at the ANC's elective conference. (Deaan Vivier, Netwerk24)

President Jacob Zuma during his address at the ANC's elective conference. (Deaan Vivier, Netwerk24)

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If you were too busy enjoying the weekend to pay attention to politics, here's what you missed at the ANC's national elective conference.

- Follow the live update here.

1. Zuma's speech

President Jacob Zuma delivered his final opening address to the national conference as president of the ANC. During the speech, which lasted almost three hours, he attacked everyone from the alliance partners and ANC Veteran's League to the media, private sector and civil society, blaming them for a variety of problems in the party. He also took aim at ANC members who have been challenging party decisions in court. At the end of his speech, he declared that he bore "no grudge" against any member of the party that had called for him to go. "I understand that this is politics, and you are entitled to your views," he said. "I tried my best." He received a standing ovation.

2. Reduced numbers

After the start of the conference had been delayed by hours by an unfinished credentials report, ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte finally announced on Saturday afternoon that the conference had adopted the credentials of the delegates. This gave a final tally of the number of voting delegates at the conference, which turned out to be less than it would have initially been. The various court challenges to branch nominations and provincial executive committees saw both Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma lose some of their delegates, but the latter's campaign suffered the biggest blow and after recalculations, it seemed Ramaphosa had the upper hand in the race to the presidency.

3. Forgiving Bathabile

ANC Women's League president Bathabile Dlamini made waves when she told News24 in an interview that South Africans must practise forgiveness when it comes to state capture, in the same way they forgave apartheid. When asked about the lack of consequences for people who have been implicated in the #GuptaLeaks emails, such as Carl Niehaus and Free State ANC chairperson Ace Magashule, Dlamini said citizens were being hypocritical. "South Africans, why are they not forgiving? They always want to label people. Why are they not saying, 'let's listen to Carl for a change and give him an opportunity to change'."

4. Mkhize declines nomination

The ANC's outgoing treasurer general Zweli Mkhize declined his nomination for deputy president after much speculation over which camp he would be supporting. In a short statement, he said that after engaging with a number of comrades, he decided that in the interest of unity in the party, he would like to withdraw from the nomination for deputy president. This could bode well for Ramaphosa's preferred deputy, Lindiwe Sisulu, as Mkhize's supporters from the Eastern Cape could now vote for her.

5. Free higher education

In a shock move at the start of the conference, Zuma announced that government will provide free higher education to poor students. Analysts and political commentators have called this a shrewd political move to make sure his preferred candidate has a popular platform on which to campaign for the 2019 elections. While critics have raised concerns about where the money will come from to fund free higher education, if Ramaphosa wins, he will find it difficult to reverse this policy as many have welcomed the decision.

Visit our special report, #ANCVotes, for all the news, analysis and opinions about the ANC’s national elective conference.

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Read more on:    anc  |  anc votes  |  anc leadership race

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