Show of unity as Zuma charms crowd
President Jacob Zuma and his newly-elected ANC leadership yesterday showcased a successful display of unity and strength as he promised to deliver “socio-economic freedom in our lifetime”.
Still bathing in the glory of an overwhelming victory at Mangaung, Zuma officially endorsed government’s National Development Plan (NDP) as the blueprint to stabilise the economy, create jobs and reduce inequality.
Zuma’s new deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, is one of the NDP’s architects.
Delivering the governing party’s yearly January 8 statement at Kings Park Stadium in Durban, Zuma said the programme, which hinges on industrial development and infrastructure projects totalling R7 trillion, would improve water supply and sanitation, as well as create jobs.
“We delivered freedom and we shall deliver prosperity and socio-economic freedom in our lifetime,” Zuma said.
Despite torrential overnight rains and a wet, cold morning, the massive crowd in the stadium spilled over onto the main field and beyond its walls by the time the rally started an hour late.
Supporters were on-side throughout, welcoming Zuma, Ramaphosa and treasurer general Zweli Mkhize as they performed a lap of victory on their arrival at the stadium.
Significantly, ousted ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe was among the ANC top leaders who joined Zuma on stage for the rally.
Motlanthe, who will head the ANC’s political school, received a massive welcome.
Zuma was also loudly applauded when he recognised Motlanthe in his 50-minute speech, which repeatedly saw him calling for unity in the wake of the Mangaung conference.
The party’s newly elected national executive committee also joined Zuma on the massive stage.
The ANC Youth League’s acting leader, Ronald Lamola, played his role in the celebration of unity, declaring that the league, which was nearly disbanded at Mangaung, had “no hangover” from the conference.
Last year the youth and other leagues were barred from speaking due to “time constraints”.
Zuma said the governing party would continue to crack down on disunity and ill-discipline and that the party’s leadership would “assist” the youth league in turning itself into an effective part of the organisation.