Newly elected African National Congress (ANC) KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Siboniso Duma says President Cyril Ramaphosa informed him that he will not be able to close the provincial conference due to other commitments
Duma was speaking to the SABC after he was elected as the ANC Chairperson in the province during the party’s 9th elective conference which started on Friday at the Olive Convention Centre in Durban.
The voting outcome was announced late on Saturday night.
Of the 1 607 voting delegates, 1 600 votes were cast for the chairperson position. Three abstained, with at least two spoilt ballots.
Duma received 930 votes, while Zikalala got 665.
Duma says he received a call from Ramaphosa early Sunday morning.
“In the morning he congratulated the new leadership and we got a nice rapport and relation with the president. Unfortunately, today, he’s got another engagement, so the chair is going to close the conference. We’ve just received warm greetings and congratulations from the president this morning.”
ANC treasurer general Paul Mashatile on Friday said Ramaphosa would arrive the province close off its ninth provincial conference.
However, on Saturday, Mashatile backtracked from his position of the previous day, telling journalists the party would hear from the presidency if Ramaphosa would be free to attend the event.
Ramaphosa’s absence from the conference could be a means to save his presidency of the ANC.
The Sunday Times reported that Ramaphosa could be putting his presidency on the line if he planned to address the ANC KwaZulu-Natal conference on Sunday in a province that still largely sympathises with former president Jacob Zuma.
“A hostile reception for Ramaphosa could signal to his adversaries that he is vulnerable to a party leadership challenge when the ANC conference takes place in December, but if he is well received, which his office is counting on, it could be good news for him,” the paper reported.
On Sunday, the conference will draw to an end – following the nomination and election of additional members.