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Zuma: I'm happy with role I played in ANC

Jacob Zuma went on a walkabout at an exhibition centre on the sidelines of the ANC national conference in Nasrec on Monday afternoon.

President Jacob Zuma conducts a walkabout at the ANC national conference on Monday 18 December 2017. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma says he's bowing out as leader of the African National Congress (ANC) happy with the role he's played in the party.

Zuma interacted with representatives from business during a walkabout at an exhibition centre on Monday afternoon, on the sidelines of the ANC national conference in Nasrec.

He then took a few minutes to speak to journalists that had been following him around the expo centre.

With cameras and microphones fixed in his direction, Zuma opened with a joke with journalists who had gathered at the expo centre to hear from him.

“And I know that the ANC, because of its history and because of its size, when it meets, generally the interest is quite high. And we appreciate that because in a sense it tells us where the ANC is.”

Unlike previous national conferences of the party, Zuma noted that there were initially seven candidates vying for the top post, which he says indicates there is no shortage of capable cadres.

“We do not say the leadership is for a few who are seen by their colleagues. The branches have the last say. That is why democratically the branches would say we think this comrade can lead us. And that’s why you come to seven.”

WATCH: I'm bowing out very happy

He says debate at the conference has been robust because they want the best out of the conference.

Zuma also hailed the party's internal democratic processes.

Meanwhile, votes are being counted as last-minute ballots have been accepted.

The ANC says the results will be released late on Monday.