ANC Youth League president Collen Maine said the booing of President Jacob Zuma by party supporters was planned.
Speaking to News24 shortly after the January 8 statement by ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa, Maine accused some within the party of orchestrating the heckling.
“I don’t know who planned that because things are not spontaneous it means it’s planned but whatever it seeks to achieve it won’t achieve it.”
President Zuma was humiliated by rally attendees who continuously heckled him while cheering for Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta during the event.
On two separate occasions, Ramaphosa and party chairperson Gwede Mantashe had to intervene in an attempt to restore order at the packed stadium.
In true Zuma fashion, he arrived 45 minutes late as the party’s alliance partners delivered their messages of support.
Zuma was booed five times. Mantashe, however, was not quick to come to Zuma’s aid.
He took a jab at Zuma when supporters first showed their disdain for the state president, telling him a new leader was in town and the party was now operating on schedule.
Some within the newly-elected national executive committee who were seated at the podium, laughed shyly at his joke while others simply smirked.
During his maiden January 8 statement, Ramaphosa spoke about the importance of timekeeping.
Zuma is infamous for his late arrivals at party events, often making members and supporters wait for hours before making his arrival.
Ramaphosa shunned this behaviour saying that a new dawn had come and the party would “respect” time.
Ramaphosa was clear in his message when he refused to wait on Zuma, starting the programme on time. The clergy and religious leaders prayer was also halted halfway through, because it had exceeded its allocated time.
Zuma walked into the stadium with an entourage of bodyguards and an alliance leader from the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) refused to halt his speech to ensure he received recognition.
Ramaphosa said he did not delay proceedings because things had changed in the party.
“The National Executive Committee at its first meeting (since being elected) also started on time. Right on the dot.
“Nelson Mandela would have been very pleased to see that in starting our things on time, we respect each other, we respect our movement and we respect our people.”
The ANC president said he was instituting a new culture in the ANC which he wanted to spread through at branch levels.
“When we say we will start a meeting at a particular time, that meeting must start without fail. That is what the ANC should be showing as an example, going forward.”
NEC member Derek Hanekom condemned boos directed at Zuma as highly inappropriate. However, he added that it showed the country’s sentiment.
“We are aware of those sentiments but I don’t think it’s necessary to boo what is now the former president of the ANC.”
He also praised Ramaphosa for his use of different languages during his speech delivery saying that it showed a diversity and the uniqueness of South Africa.
Touching on factions within the party, Ramaphosa warned those who attempt to cause disunity would have to answer to party structures.
He said factions and disunity would no longer be tolerated in all structures of the party and that if found promoting disunity “you will have to answer at Luthuli House”. – News24