Suspended African National Congress (ANC) Chairperson in KwaZulu-Natal, Sihle Zikalala, has said that ousted President Jacob Zuma epitomises the discipline found within the ruling party.

“Bowing to instructions from the highest structure of the ANC is the clearest sign that in the ANC we are endowed with disciplined, dedicated and committed revolutionaries who always put the interest of the organisation first, despite their outstanding record and rich history within our movement. President Zuma is indeed the epitome of that discipline within our movement,” said Zikalala.

Zikalala is currently the co-ordinator for the province since the ANC motherbody suspended the leadership in January.

This followed a court ruling in 2017 that found the 2015 conference at which Zikalala was elected as chairman was null and void.

He was speaking at the provincial headquarters in Durban on Thursday afternoon, not even 24 hours after Zuma resigned, with immediate effect, from his position as Head of State.

Zikalala said that Zuma’s detractors had mocked and criticised the President because of his lack of formal education, but added that it was because Zuma had achieved so much while growing up within the limits of apartheid that people from similar backgrounds revered him.

Zuma would leave behind a long lasting legacy of progress and the foundation for radical economic transformation, according to Zikalala.

“President Zuma has placed a premium on radical economic transformation, vowing to transform the structure of the economy through industrialisation, broad-based black economic empowerment and through strengthening and expanding the role of the state in the economy,” said Zikalala.

He said that Zuma’s ideological opponents had predictably perceived Zuma as a threat “to their economic base” and “unleashed an unprecedented propaganda narrative to spread Zumaphobia” and to bring down Zuma and eliminate the ANC from governing.

“It is now not surprising that even as the dust settles, the knives are already being pointed at President Cyril Ramaphosa,” he said.

“We will remain vigilant to thwart the counter revolutionary agenda and their manufactured sense of triumphalism will soon disappear into thin air,” he said.

Zikalala also said that the province would support the ANC leadership under new President Ramaphosa and would “protect” him “at the rear and flanks in order to thwart the advances of counter revolutionaries”.

KwaZulu-Natal has been one of Zuma’s strongest support bases and by sheer force of voting numbers, is regarded as having ushered him to the position of ANC president and keeping him there for a decade.

While the province threw its weight behind Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as their preferred candidate for party president in December, Ramaphosa emerged victorious.

The province has voice support for him since then.

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