Zuma closes Mangaung conference

President Jacob Zuma urged the ANC to remain united during his closing address in Mangaung.

ANC President Jacob Zuma addresses delegates at the party’s elective conference in Mangaung on 16 December 2012. Picture: ANC pi

MANGAUNG - President Jacob Zuma once again called for unity in the African National Congress (ANC) during his final address at the closing of the 53rd elective conference in Mangaung.

The president congratulated the party's new leadership and called the conference a success.

He told delegates that unity was not a given.

"Unity will not happen automatically - we need to work for it. Comrades, we also wish to reiterate that all members have a right to be nominated for any position in the organisation and to accept or decline that nomination."

Zuma then announced that deputy former ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe would lead the party's political school.

"We are pleased to announce that former [ANC] deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe will lead this crucial ANC political education school."

The president also used the opportunity to give the public an update on former president Nelson Mandela's health.

"His condition was serious but he is responding well to treatment. His condition has steadily improved in the last few days."

ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa also addressed delegates shortly before Zuma took to the stage.

He paid special tribute to Mandela, who is spending a 13th night at a Pretoria hospital.

"As our first democratic president, he inspires our nation and the world. He steered our organisation, not just with the values of collective resistance, but also with his example of determination.

"We wish you a speedy recovery, Tata."