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Zuma: Economy will not collapse under Dlamini Zuma

Jacob Zuma delivered his political address at the ANC’s elective conference in Nasrec on Saturday evening.

President Jacob Zuma addresses delegates at the ANC's 54th national conference on 16 December 2017. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma has used his last address as African National Congress (ANC) president to open up about calls by alliance partners for him to step down, lash out at those who claim the economy will collapse if Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma replaces him and criticise ANC members who run to courts with party issues.

Zuma delivered his political address at the ANC’s elective conference in Nasrec on Saturday evening.

This was Zuma’s last public address as ANC president so he had to let ANC members know how he felt about certain events.

He started by addressing those who claimed that a win by Dlamini Zuma would implode the ANC and collapse the economy.

“We have received threats that the ANC will explode and the economy collapse if there are certain outcomes of conference. The ANC has 105 years of experience, of meaningful contestation.”

WATCH: Zuma addresses ANC national conference

He then went on to speak about radical economic transformation, saying it’s being resisted by those who benefit most from the current status quo.

“We must be mindful of the fact that the primary beneficiaries of the current socio-economic status quo will by nature be opposed to any talk of radical economic transformation because it challenges and threatens the status quo.”

GALLERY: ANC national conference in pictures

He also criticised the business community for only allowing their employees a day off with full pay when they march against him and not when employees demonstrate for better wages.

“We’ve also seen unusual activism from the private sector lately in support of such formations, with big businesses taking the unusual step at times to encourage workers to leave work with full pay and march against the democratic government, but the same employers adopt a no-work no-pay stance when the workers demand better wages and working conditions.”

On state capture, he says a judicial commission of inquiry will be established.

“The allegations made against some sections of the business community regarding the said capture of the state to advance business interests will be probed further in the judicial commission of inquiry that we committed to establish as the ANC.”

He also spoke out against Cosatu and the SACP - organisations which have both have called on him to step down.

And on ANC members who run to courts with party disputes?

“We also frown upon the subjection of our internal organisational matters to court processes. ANC members should use internal dispute resolution processes and judges should not be asked to dictate ANC organisational process.”

The president also appealed to ANC delegates and leaders to rally behind whoever will emerge as president this weekend.

WHITE COLLAR CRIME

Zuma also spoke out on corporate corruption, saying it has to be dealt with decisively by law enforcement agencies.

The president has told delegates there are serious concerns about white collar crimes being treated differently to state corruption.

He didn’t refer to the scandal around international furniture retailer Steinhoff which is embroiled in allegations of fraud and malpractice, but he did mention companies’ collusion and price-fixing in the building of the 2010 Fifa World Cup stadiums and road projects and banks accused of manipulating the rand.

“Serious concerns have been raised about corruption in the private sector which is treated with kid gloves and is referred to in softer terms such as collusion, accounting irregularities or lapses in corporate governance. Theft and corruption in the private sector is as bad as that in government and must be dealt with decisively by law enforcement agencies.”

READ: Jacob Zuma’s full address at the ANC's national conference:

Jacob Zuma Speech at ANC Conference by Primedia Broadcasting on Scribd

Throughout his two-hour speech, some delegates showed their unwavering support for him with scattered applause.

He would have hoped for a rousing reaction to his announcement that the Presidency has decided to implement fee-free education for poor and working-class students. But the response was lacklustre.

The crowd responded positively when he thanked ANC delegates for their support, saying he tried his best to guide the party during his two terms in office.

Delegates, many from provinces that support Dlamini-Zuma, were on their feet applauding him.

The president closed his address, as he routinely does, with a song.

Kwa-Zulu Natal delegates were seen chanting his name, while those from other provinces appeared unmoved.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)