Heckling from President Ramaphosa sparks backlash in ruling ANC | Jacob Zuma News

South Africa’s president is seeking a second term and, despite a farm scandal, is considered the party’s strongest candidate.

Allies of the party and even some rivals of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa have condemned opponents who disrupted his opening speech with chants and shouts at a conference of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

“We have to judge [the disruption] because it’s not the behavior of ANC members,” Siboniso Duma — chairman of the KwaZulu-Natal province ANC, the largest single power bloc trying to remove Ramaphosa — said on Saturday.

“You can’t just [make noise] when the president speaks,” he told broadcaster Newzroom Afrika, reflecting a backlash to Friday’s disruption that some people said could empower the president.

Ramaphosa was speaking at a five-day ANC convention to select candidates for the 2024 national election. The president is seeking a second term and is widely regarded as the party’s strongest candidate, despite a scandal surrounding the discovery of a cash stash at his Phala Phala game farm in Limpopo province.

While raucous chants of “Get out, Ramaphosa, get out!” he was barely heard during Friday’s address, his words drowning out for minutes before hecklers fell silent.

Ramaphosa is facing strong opposition from a rival ANC faction who are urging him to quit over the Phala Phala scandal. He has denied wrongdoing and has not been charged with a crime despite a parliamentary report that led to a failed impeachment trial.

The ANC’s presidential candidate has been a contender for South Africa’s top post since the end of white minority rule in 1994.

The conference was due to make a decision on the candidacy late Saturday, but some delegates said internal fighting meant it could be pushed back to Sunday or later.

“Conversations are ongoing. Compromises are underway,” ANC Vice Presidential candidate and Eastern Cape ANC chair Oscar Mabuyane told reporters. “Provinces are committed. Nothing at all [is] finished at this point. We are all interested in coming out of here with a very solid, strong leadership.”

Ramaphosa’s political troubles have stirred supporters of former President Jacob Zuma, who is himself under investigation for allegedly working with three Indian businessmen, brothers Atul, Ajay and Rajesh Gupta, to siphon off state funds during his 2009-2018 tenure. Zuma denies these charges.

The main challenger from this camp is Zweli Mkhize, the former health minister whom Ramaphosa placed on special leave last year after allegations that his department had irregularly awarded COVID-19-related contracts to a company controlled by his former employees . Mkhize denies wrongdoing.

Some people said Friday’s incident could set back their challenge.

“That was completely out of order,” Zamani Saul, chairman of the North Cape ANC, told SABC News. “What you did yesterday is defiled [their] Campaign.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *