Ramaphosa preaches unity in Gauteng, calls on national leaders to stay out of provincial contests

2018-07-20 18:11
President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Kopano Tlape, GCIS)

President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Kopano Tlape, GCIS)

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ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa has reiterated his call for unity within the political party as delegates in Gauteng prepare to vote for new leaders.

The province's three-day conference kicked off at the St George's Hotel in Irene, Pretoria, on Friday, with Ramaphosa delivering the keynote address.

The president acknowledged the ANC's continued decline in Gauteng, which resulted in the liberation movement losing control of the province's metros and only retaining Ekurhuleni through a coalition government in the last local elections.

"This conference must necessarily and honestly access the extent to which our weaknesses as leaders and as members contributed to the decline in electoral support, even among our traditional supporters," he said.

"During this assessment we must not tear each other apart, but we must speak the truth without fear or favour, with the sole intent to self-correct – and this is what we are known for as the ANC," added Ramaphosa.

Brothers and sisters

Touching on his own fierce leadership contest with Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma last year, Ramaphosa said party members would find that there was "strength", "power", and "determination" in unity.

He and Dlamini-Zuma were now brother and sister, he said.

"You have to work together, whether you like each other or not," said Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa, who cautioned against what he described as a new "tendency" in the ANC for members who contested against one another to end up hating each other.

ALSO READ: Names touted in last-minute discussions ahead of hotly-contested ANC Gauteng conference

"Even when comrades contest one another you are brothers and sisters," he said.

Ramaphosa, who often criss-crosses the country in both his capacity as head of state and as an ANC leader, said he was bothered by complaints from party structures during his visits about national leaders interfering in elective conferences.

"A number of our structures keep on saying: 'President, we just wish national leaders of the ANC would not interfere in the choice of the leader at a provincial level,'" he told the Gauteng conference.

He said even the ANC Youth League, which is expected to hold its national conference in September, complained about a similar challenge.

"Delegates must be allowed to choose their own leaders," said Ramaphosa.

Read more on:    anc  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  pretoria

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