Zuma: ‘ANC leaders have learnt from the mistakes of past 15 years’

2008-12-16 00:00

BLOEMFONTEIN — In a show of might, the African National Congress brought its top guns and packed Bloemfontein’s Seisa Ramabodu Stadium yesterday.

The ruling party decided to hold the commemoration of the 47th anniversary of Mkhonto Wesizwe (MK) just a few kilometres away from the venue where the Congress of the People (Cope) held its rally.

Political pundits say the ANC wanted to show Cope that it still has massive support in the Free State.

Among the top brass that attended the rally were ANC president Jacob Zuma, general secretary Gwede Mantashe, Youth League president Julius Malema, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and KwaZulu-Natal ANC chairman Dr Zweli Mkhize.

The ANC’s decision to hold its rally in Bloemfontein raised fears of confrontation between members of the two parties. Security was increased at both venues, and police yesterday said there were no incidents.

Speaking during the rally, Zuma said leaders of his party have learnt from the mistakes of the past 15 years.

“From 1994, we had to focus primarily on transforming the state and the country, and to deliver on the basic needs of our people. We have to a large extent done well. However, we may not have balanced our governance and party work well,” he said.

Zuma said the ANC government has succeeded in bringing water, electricity, roads, public health care and access to education and housing to thousands of people.

“Various problems that developed could have been averted and some of our key structures and sectors would not have been neglected as they have been,” he said.

Zuma made no mention of Cope in his speech.

The ANC is continuing to put pressure on Zanu-PF and the MDC to agree on a unity government, he said.

“We are concerned that they are taking longer to finalise the agreement while the humanitarian situation is deteriorating. We have a responsibility to push them all in the right direction, and will continue to do so,” Zuma said.

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