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Provincial leadership lashes Ramaphosa heckling by defiant ANC KwaZulu-Natal delegates

Provincial leadership lashes Ramaphosa heckling by defiant ANC KwaZulu-Natal delegates
Former president Jacob Zuma arrives at Nasrec in Johannesburg on 16 December, the venue for the ANC elective conference. (Photo:Felix Dlangamandla/Daily Maverick)

The behaviour of a group of ANC KwaZulu-Natal delegates who heckled party president Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday has been condemned by the provincial leaders of the organisation.

ANC KwaZulu-Natal chair Siboniso Duma along with his secretary, Bheki Mtolo, are said to have sent a strong message to their delegation on Friday evening following their involvement in the chaotic scenes.

On the first day of the conference, a small group of KwaZulu-Natal members heckled party president Cyril Ramaphosa while he was at the podium.

Speaking to the media on Saturday morning, Duma said the delegates’ actions were uncalled for, but explained that there was a prominent view that the outgoing leadership had not been effective in implementing key policy. 

anc heckling duma zuma

ANC KwaZulu-Natal chair Siboniso Duma and former president Jacob Zuma chat at Nasrec on 16 December 2022. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla / Daily Maverick)

“It is the nature of the conference itself, comrades will find that they have been waiting for this for five years and now we are here to renew the mandate. We told them yesterday… let us behave, raise your hands in plenary. It is a democratic process, and articulate your perspective,” Duma said.

KwaZulu-Natal delegates’ songs were supportive of former party president Jacob Zuma, even chanting “step aside, load shedding” when Ramaphosa was at the podium on Friday.

Just as Ramaphosa started delivering his political report, Zuma walked in with his daughter Duduzile, KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Siboniso Duma and Duma’s deputy, Nomagugu Simelane.

anc heckling poster

A delegate brandishes a Phala Phala poster inside plenary at Nasrec on 16 December 2022. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla / Daily Maverick)

Zuma supporters erupted into song and dance, continuing even while Ramaphosa tried to reprimand them. 

Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations

Duma explained that Zuma was participating in his capacity as a branch member.

“He was elected in his branch and qualifies, so he is going to participate. He is a senior member in the ANC. From time to time the National Executive Committee (NEC) needs to learn from their wisdom,” the KwaZulu-Natal chair said. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: “ANC conference off to a shaky start — long delays, grandstanding and anti-Ramaphosa chants

anc heckling mabe

Outgoing ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe tries to prevent the media from taking photos of former president Jacob Zuma’s supporters at the party’s 55th national conference at Nasrec in Johannesburg on 16 December 2022. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

There was general disappointment among ANC delegates about what had ensued on the first day of the conference and many believed it was intentionally staged to embarrass Ramaphosa.

ANC Gert Sibande regional chairperson Muzi Chirwa believed it was up to the provincial leadership to ensure that their delegation toed the line. 

“We look at that through very dim eyes especially because the conference of the ANC is the highest decision-making body. It has its own decorum and members who come here must exude that level of discipline, and respect delegates who have travelled the country to do that. We are not happy about that type of conduct. Each and every leadership delegation is requested to make sure their delegation is guided properly,” Chirwa said. DM 


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