In one of his last speeches as president of the ANC, president Jacob Zuma told guests at a gala dinner on Friday that he is sorry for all the mistakes he made as both leader of the governing party and the country.

He went on to assure his detractors that he holds no grudges against them and urged all ANC members to work towards unity within the 105-year-old organisation.

Zuma thanked his colleagues in the top six including presidential hopeful Cyril Ramaphosa, jokingly acknowledging that his deputy may return as his successor.

The president said he was encouraged by the number of ANC candidates vying for the top spot saying it was demonstration of the party’s maturity and democratic nature. Zuma further prompted the seven candidates to unite behind whoever won, saying the ANC should be the winner. “I know the ANC will emerge united… the ANC must be the winner.”

Through giggles, Zuma remarked, “I am a soldier… I’m ready to be led.”