Sexwale jeered by party delegates
HUMAN Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale was jeered by delegates while trying to propose a rule to ban the singing of derogatory songs at the ANC's policy conference.
This after Sexwale, a national executive committee (NEC) member of the party, had interjected chairman Baleka Mbete, who was reading the rules of the policy conference in Midrand yesterday.
Sexwale stepped up to seek clarity on what the conference would do if delegates sang derogatory songs.
"We like singing ANC songs, but we are not allowed to sing derogatory songs. But I don't know what you will say about songs in my favour."
But Sexwale was shouted down by delegates. A Limpopo delegate told the conference that Sexwale should have raised his queries in the NEC.
He returned to his seat.
Mbete continued with the programme and other delegates raised questions for clarity.
Earlier, delegates from various provinces sang songs in support of President Jacob Zuma.
Zuma wants to remain at the helm of the party after its elective conference in Mangaung in December.
In what could be a major boost for his re-election, delegates sang and marched in his support on both ends of the hall at Gallagher Estate, holding up placards with the names of their provinces, including his home-town KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and the North West. Limpopo conspicuously remained seated.
Mpumalanga delegates sang a song to the effect that "we're going with Zuma to Mangaung", proclaiming that "there are no problems when Zuma is with us".
Some senior ANC leaders were so moved by the song that they also joined in the singing and dancing.
Among them were Mbete, Treasurer Mathews Phosa and Justice Minister Jeff Radebe.
Phosa later told Sowetan the singing in support of an individual was "pretty cooked and immature" as the gathering was about policies not leadership nomination.
"It's too soon for that ... let them sing," he said.
KwaZulu-Natal constitutes the majority of the delegates, who sang a more militant Zulu song - "Oshisa isikipa sikaZuma, sizomfaka ivolovolo (those who burn a T-shirt bearing Zuma's face on it will be shot)".
Another song was about "unprincipled" cadres, a veiled attack on expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.
Zuma was scheduled to deliver his opening address at 9.10am, but this was delayed by about two hours.
His entrance appeared to have been stage-managed, as he arrived walking side-by-side with his deputy Kgalema Motlanthe.
Among those who attended the conference was fired police commissioner Bheki Cele, who was registered as a "deployed cadre".
He sat with ANC veterans.
Cele was fired by Zuma after a board of inquiry's findings said he was unfit to hold office. There were rumours he would be deployed in government, but Cele has since denied being approached.