President Cyril Ramaphosa has congratulated Eastern Cape’s ANC delegates for their discipline and positive spirit that prevented their conference degenerating into chaos despite credentials disputes that delayed everything.
Ramaphosa delivered the closing remarks on Monday evening after the conference had earlier re-elected Premier Oscar Mabuyane as provincial ANC chairperson.
Mabuyane’s faction enjoyed a clean sweep of all the top five positions. Mlungisi Mvoko was elected as deputy chairperson, Lulama Ngcukayitobi (secretary), Helen Sauls-August (deputy secretary) and Zolile Williams as treasurer.
Mabuyane contested the chairpersonship against former treasurer Babalo Madikizela. Ramaphosa said that he saw the losing candidates congratulating their opponents after the results were announced.
“It does not mean that they are not leaders of the ANC. You will get leadership positions moving forward,” he said.
He said that the new leadership had a responsibility to unite the organisation.
“If we came to this conference divided and factional, all these divisions must melt away and factions must collapse.
“We are expecting the elected leaders not to railroad other comrades out of positions. This will prove that we are serious about unity,” Ramaphosa said.
The president said that the province went through a cathartic process in 2017 when the provincial conference was marred by chaos, but this time the party proved that it was renewing itself.
He reminded the delegates that no one, including the president, was bigger than the ANC.
ECONOMIC TURN AROUND
Ramaphosa said that the new leadership had to focus on turning around the economy and create jobs especially after the country had been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent floods that ravaged KwaZulu-Natal and the eastern part of the Eastern Cape.
“We have had all these devastating events descending on us during fragile economic times. We must exercise leadership,” he said.
The Eastern Cape, said Ramaphosa, should be at the forefront of cannabis and hemp production once the legal framework had been developed. Moreover, he said, the province should be seen as the food basket of the country.
“This province is home to many industries and its strengths in tourism and agriculture should be taken advantage of.
“The Eastern Cape is also the automotive capital of Africa…we make more cars here than anywhere else in Africa,” Ramaphosa said.
He said that Mabuyane was a “committed advocate” for the improvement of infrastructure build in the province.