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Zuma opens ANC policy conference with call for unity

Over the next few days, delegates will debate the party's policies and also assess the state of the organisation.

President Jacob Zuma addresses the ANC national policy conference at Nasrec on 30 June 2017. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - African Nation Congress (ANC) President Jacob Zuma has used his opening address at the party's policy conference to call for unity in the organisation.

Zuma's speech also focused on problems facing the party, state capture allegations and economic challenges.

The president is addressing thousands of delegates at Nasrec in Soweto.

Over the next few days, delegates will debate the party's policies and also assess the state of the organisation.

GALLERY: ANC Policy Conference 2017

The president says that unity is important.

“Our discussions must be informed by unity which is the rock upon which the ANC was founded. We were taught this by the founding leaders of the movement. Pixley ka Isaka Seme made an appeal for unity.”

Zuma also says government's economic growth forecast of 1.1% for this year may not be achieved.

Earlier this month, it emerged that the economy had slipped into recession as major sectors shrunk while political and policy uncertainty dragged business and consumer confidence to their worst levels in decades.

In the last few minutes, Zuma has hit out at ANC members who spread negative messages about the party.

He started off his address with a diagnosis of the problems facing the country.

But he seems to believe some ANC leaders are contributing to these challenges by spreading negative messages about the party.

“We also need to look at the issue of ill-discipline in various forms, including public utterances, attacking the movement by ANC leaders and members, instead of handling matters within the organisation and finding constructive solutions.“

He also addressed state capture allegations.

"We support the establishment of a judicial commission of inquiry to look into the matter. At a political level, this debate requires a thorough analysis of the South African economy so that we can understand what is meant by the state capture."

WATCH: President Jacob Zuma at ANC policy conference

The first two days of the conference will focus on discussing the state of the ANC before delegates can debate the party's policies.

Zuma urged delegates to focus their energy on solutions to economic challenges and ensure that they remain united, saying unity is a thread that keeps both the movement and the country together.

(Edited by Zinhle Nkosi)

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