Zuma has message of unity and stability in ANC

2007-12-21 00:00

In a simple closing speech, new ANC president Jacob Zuma set out to preach a message of unity to ANC members and reassure South Africa and the world that not much will change in the way the ANC will go about its business.

He said there is likely to be anxiety regarding the existence of two presidents — one of state and the other of the party — but said there is no reason for fear or anxiety as he and Mbeki will work closely together.

He earlier referred to Mbeki as a comrade, friend and brother, saying they have worked together for over 30 years. “I must confess I never thought that the two of us would one day compete for the same position in the ANC! However, contesting positions does not make us enemies.”

On concerns that there will be major economic shifts, he reiterated what he has been telling investors — economic policy is set by the party and not an individual. He said the economic policies adopted by the Polokwane conference do not indicate a fundamental shift from the policies that the ANC has had since it came to power.

He said this conference affirmed that the country needs more foreign and domestic investment and that conditions must be made conducive for this.

He added that there will be consultation. “We will continue to work together as community, business and labour to find workable solutions,” he said.

Zuma spoke on both crime and HIV/Aids. He said that the former is a challenge that affects economic growth and development and social stability. He called on ANC branches to get actively involved in crime prevention strategies in their communities, using the street committee system that the ANC previously used to fight vigilantism and the apartheid system.

He told the gathering that the ANC must live up to its slogan and build a caring society that does not discriminate against those living with HIV/Aids, while working to prevent infections.

Zuma dealt head-on with the troubled first day of conference, but made a veiled comment on Mbeki’s style. “The occurrences of the first day of conference were indicative of internal problems that need to be sorted out without delay.”

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