‘Booing delegates embarrassed us’: ANC KZN chair

ANC provincial chairperson Siboniso Duma said the conduct of the KZN delegates was not consistent with ANC values and traditions.

The ANC KwaZulu-Natal leadership on Saturday described the behaviour of KZN delegates, who booed President Cyril Ramaphosa at the party’s elective conference, as “embarrassing”.

Speaking on the sidelines of the ANC national elective conference at Johannesburg’s Nasrec Expo Centre yesterday, ANC provincial chairperson Siboniso Duma said  the conduct of the KZN delegates was not consistent with ANC values and traditions.

ALSO READChaotic start to ANC national conference

This video is no longer available.

“Of course, we were embarrassed.

As the leadership, we condemn any form of chaos, particularly in front of the media.

Shortly after the arrival of Ramaphosa at the ANC five-day conference venue on Friday afternoon, former president Jacob Zuma’s supporters, mainly from KZN, began chanting and singing anti-Ramaphosa songs.

KZN delegates caused chaos

“U Rama (Ramaphosa) akabuyi (Ramaphosa is not coming back),” the group of delegates from KZN chanted as Ramaphosa took to the podium.

At one point, ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe advised Ramaphosa to pause so that the protesting KZN delegates could be brought to order.

However, as soon as Ramaphosa resumed his speech, the booing and heckling continued.

It only stopped after Mantashe had threatened to bring in security guards to deal with the protesting delegates, who, as part of drowning Ramaphosa’s speech, sang pro-Zuma songs while the president was speaking.

The ANC KZN leadership, which is opposed to Ramaphosa’s election as party leader for a second term, wants the conference delegates to elect former health minister Zweli Mkhize to the position of ANC president.

While Duma said the provincial leadership was still behind Mkhize, he made it clear that issues ranging from economic policy and power supply, which conference delegates will have to resolve on, were far more important that who gets elected party president.

“Yes, comrade Zweli Mkhize could still lead the collective, but the most important issues for us as KZN is the economic outlook, Eskom and other issues which affects our people on the ground,” he said.

In past conferences, the provincial leadership endorsed for the ANC president position Zuma and Cooperative Governace and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Nkosazana Dlamini- Zuma.

The two, like Mkhize, hail from KZN.

ALSO READANC elective conference enters second day

The ANC KZN’s practice of endorsing candidates from the province for the ANC president position has created perceptions that the province approached national conferences with a tribalistic agenda.

However, Duma denied that KZN only wanted members from the province to lead the party.

“As the ANC in KZN, we were fully behind president Nelson Mandela. It’s us who led president Thabo Mbeki’s election campaign,” he said.

On KZN’s endorsement of Zuma and Dlamini- Zuma, Duma said it was not only KZN which supported the two.

It was the ANC collective which identified them.

This video is no longer available.

Read more on these topics

African National Congress (ANC)

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits