- President Cyril Ramaphosa faced a backlash from Jacob Zuma’s supporters in the ANC’s biggest region in KwaZulu-Natal
- Ramaphosa faced hostile ANC branch leaders on a recent trip to Durban who demanded to know why Zuma was being persecuted
- ANC regional chairperson Zandile Gumede had to appeal for calm when Ramaphosa tried to address a meeting at the Moses Mabhida Stadium
President Cyril Ramaphosa faced a backlash from supporters of former president Jacob Zuma in eThekwini, the ANC’s biggest region in KwaZulu-Natal. Ramaphosa was met by hostile ANC branch leaders who wanted to know why Zuma was being persecuted.
The situation became so tense that the eThekwini regional chairperson, Zandile Gumede, had to appeal for calm before Ramaphosa was allowed to address ANC members who had gathered for a closed-door meeting at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
This was Ramaphosa’s first meeting with ANC KwaZulu-Natal branches since he won the party’s presidency in December. According to some who attended some branch leaders howled and jeered while Ramaphosa tried to speak.
Briefly.co.za gathered that Ramaphosa and other high-ranking ANC leaders are in the province on a fact-finding mission. Ramaphosa faces a stern test in the province, speculation in recent weeks have pointed to a faction in the province plotting to overthrow the president or to form a breakaway party.
One of the attendees who claims to be a Zuma supporter said more than half of those in attendance at the Moses Mabhida Stadium meeting were anti-Ramaphosa leaders representing various branches throughout the province.
“We came to the stadium prepared to be defiant against the president, but after he had addressed us we were softened and ended up clapping hands for him,” he said.
“We were impressed when he said he made it clear to British Prime Minister Theresa May (during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting) that the land issue will go ahead as per the Nasrec resolution, but it will be done in a way that wouldn’t threaten investment.
The crowd was also impressed with how Ramaphosa related to Gumede who is known to be pro-Zuma. The president even endorsed her leadership.
This did not stop a pro-Zuma song from being sung after the meeting.
“Wenzen’ * Zuma? Wenzen’ * Zuma? Khawuphendule/Wen’ ulawulwa, wen’ ulawulwa yi Propaganda/ Awu sitshele ukuth’ * Zuma wenzeni” loosely translated: “You who are controlled by propaganda tell us what wrong has Zuma done?”
Communication Minister Nomvula Mokonyane and ANC NEC member Zizi Kodwa were among the ANC leaders singing and clapping, according to reports Ramaphosa was less than impressed by the singing and dancing which took place.
Ramaphosa did not enjoy the singing because in effect the crowd were accusing Ramaphosa of being the mastermind behind Zuma’s prosecution.
A source said: “The atmosphere was very bad, but we expected this because comrades in eThekwini are very hostile against the president.”
Ramaphosa and other leaders held another closed-door meeting at the Coastlands Hotel in Durban. The meeting was closely guarded by both police and VIP protection officers.
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