Ramaphosa says he and Dlamini-Zuma are proof that unity in ANC is possible

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and President Cyril Ramaphosa at the  ANC elective conference in 2017. (File, Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and President Cyril Ramaphosa at the ANC elective conference in 2017. (File, Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa has asked party leaders to take a page from his and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's book and ensure unity in the party. 

Ramaphosa was speaking at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on Thurdsay evening at the party's Siyanqoba dinner, where supporters backed him as the next president of the country should the organisation win next week's general polls.

He said ANC leaders should learn from Dlamini-Zuma and himself, who, despite campaigning as opponents for the ANC presidency in 2017, were now united. 

"The two protagonists who were pitted against each other have now united, and we are saying all our leaders must now unite and pull in the same direction and speak with one voice," Ramaphosa told the guests.

His words come shortly after a broadcast on newly-launched news channel Newzroom Afrika, during which Ramaphosa denied claims by party secretary general Ace Magashule that his phone was being tapped. 

In the interview, Ramaphosa called Magashule's claims false.

"I also suspected that my phone was bugged, there is no phone that is bugged," 

Magashule made the allegations during a Workers' Day rally in the Free State last week. Magashule has laid a complaint with the Inspector-General of Intelligence, who has confirmed his office is looking into the matter.

READ: Magashule is 'reckless' for making spy claims in public - Mbalula

'We are going to continue uniting the ANC'

Ramaphosa told attendees at the dinner that unity in the party was a process and that sometimes the party took a few steps back. 

"There are quite a number of structures in the ANC that were pitted against each other and we have almost imposed unity on those structures and now, as they work together, they are finding unity."

He promised the party would continue uniting, because "there is no other way... Watch this space. We are going to continue uniting the ANC because there is no other way and we will succeed".

Ramaphosa listened as 16 pioneers and industry leaders from different sectors endorsed him as the country's president.

Football legend Doctor Khumalo, who was among those who spoke, advised the ANC not to worry about its opponents, but rather ensure the other parties worry about the ANC. 

Some of the speakers were the first black professionals in their respective fields.

'After the 8th of May, play time is over'

Ramaphosa said he was moved by the endorsement from supporters, adding that while they thanked the party for paving the way for their success, he picked up a chain of gentle criticism.

Through the party's election work across the length and breath of the country, the president said he, together with ANC leaders, had identified similar themes to those raised by communities. 

He said these themes, which include service delivery and speedy payments of government service providers, would be addressed shortly after the May 8 elections.

"After the 8th of May, play time is over. Our people are saying fix local government. Embolden provincial government. We have all the policies we are now are going to do. We are going to implement. We are committed to doing this because we don't want to take our people for granted and we are not going to squander that hope. 

"We are going to do things differently. We are going to be much more focused and we are going to do things in time. We must cut waiting time by 50% ... Beyond May 8, we are going to remain faithful to the aspirations of our people," he said.

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