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Ramaphosa denies apologising for addressing ANC Eastern Cape conference

Nov 2, 2017
Ramaphosa denies apologising for addressing ANC Eastern Cape conference

Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also the Deputy President of the African National Congress (ANC) on Thursday said that he has noted reports of an apology he is said to have delivered to the Amathole Regional General Council over the weekend relating to the Eastern Cape 8th Provincial Elective Conference.

The conference was held at the end of September in East London was not without incident as it suffered from delays as well as violence that saw around eight delegates in hospital.

In the end, Mabuyane emerged as the new ANC Eastern Cape Provincial Chairperson after beating Eastern Cape Premier, Phumulo Masualle, by 935 votes to Masualle's 7.

According to a report in a local newspaper, the Deputy President on Sunday apologised for addressing the Conference and for recognising the newly elected Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) of the ANC in the Province.

That PEC had to face a court challenge in the East London High Court, a day after the conference. The court struck the challenge off the roll

In October, the PEC announced its endorsement of Ramaphosa as its preferred candidate to succeed President Jacob Zuma, who steps down in December.

'Did not apologise'

In a statement, Ramaphosa said that he did not apologise for addressing the conference.

He said that the 8th Provincial Conference of the Eastern Cape was duly sanctioned by the National Executive Committee, having followed all applicable guidelines for the convening of Conference. As the Deputy President, he was duly deployed by the organisation to deliver the closing address at the Conference.

"On my way to the Conference, I received reports of the violence that had ensued the night before. On arrival in East London I sought to visit the injured in hospital before being informed that they had all been discharged," he said.

"I subsequently made my way to the Conference, where I was briefed by the NEC deployees about the events that had unfolded at the Conference.

"When I addressed the Conference, I strongly condemned the violence that had happened and expressed my concern for those who were injured.

"I also called for unity between the comrades who had remained and those who had left. In the course of condemning the violent incidents I used an unfortunate expression when I referred to the violent incidents as a 'festival of chairs'.

"This was insensitive. I have since apologised for this statement."

Ramaphosa added: "I do, however, maintain that the conduct of those involved was wrong and should continue to be roundly condemned. We must also condemn the temptation and practice of undermining and seeking not to recognise a duly elected leadership as in the case of the PEC of the Eastern Cape. The PEC that is in office is a product of a Conference and remains as such unless the appeal against their election is upheld.

"Ultimately, we must all unite as comrades to ensure that the dignity of our movement remains intact at all times and that as leaders of society, we create a better life for the people of the Eastern Cape."

Ramaphosa said that the position of the African National Congress in relation to the 8th PEC of the Eastern Cape is that the leadership remains duly elected unless the outcome of the appeal process determines otherwise, a point emphasised also by Comrade President Jacob Zuma, when closing the meeting of the National Working Committee with leadership of the Eastern Cape on Monday.