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Zuma supporters welcome new NEC

The ANC’s newly elected NEC has been largely welcomed by Mangaung delegates.

ANC president Jacob Zuma gives his closing address at the party’s Mangaung conference on 20 December 2012. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

MANGAUNG - The ANC's newly elected national executive committee (NEC) has been largely welcomed by delegates who attended the party's national conference in Mangaung.

Most of President Jacob Zuma's allies were elected, while those who opposed his slate in the top six elections were left out in the cold.

The list of new NEC members was announced in the final plenary session of the party's Mangaung conference on Thursday night.

There were scenes of jubilation in the plenary tent at the University of the Free State, as the ANC's electoral commission announced a new 80-member NEC.

Delegates sang songs in support of Zuma and celebrated the defeat of those from the pro-change camp, including Fikile Mbalula and Mathews Phosa.

But the party president told delegates in his closing address that no one should be ostracised for declining a nomination.

This after Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe declined nomination after an overwhelming loss to Zuma for the ANC's top job.

Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel and Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj also declined nomination to the committee.

Singing and dancing lasted throughout the last session of the conference, with Zuma himself finally joining in.

MANGAUNG CLOSING SPEECH

In his closing speech, Zuma preached unity in the movement, calling on members to root out disunity and factionalism.

"Let me also acknowledge the delegates in this hall for discipline and for promoting unity and cohesion."

He said while members would have to work hard for unity, he was optimistic about the future.

"We are going to leave this conference venue with great optimism, as it is clear that the ANC is renewing itself already."

The president also announced that his former deputy, Motlanthe, would head up the party's political education programme.

"We thank the former deputy president for availing himself for this crucial developmental task."

The ANC has said the next decade will be aimed at grooming a breed of educated cadres and leaders.