ANC must not be ‘threatened’ to favour a particular leader: Zuma

South Africa's president Jacob Zuma speaks during the 54th ANC (African National Congress) national conference on December 16, 2017 in Johannesburg. South African President Jacob Zuma admitted December 16 that voters were "not happy" with the ruling ANC party as it began a five-day conference to elect his successor as party leader. / AFP PHOTO / MUJAHID SAFODIEN

President Jacob Zuma yesterday warned against the influence business may seek to have in the outcomes of the ongoing national elective conference.

Delivering his final political report of the organisation at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg on Saturday, Zuma told delegates that the ANC had been “threatened” by some external interests.

“Already we have received threats that the ANC will implode and the economy will collapse if certain outcomes arise from this conference, be it conference resolutions on the economy or the leadership elected if these are not those favoured by business,” Zuma said.

In the run-up to the highly contested conference, a number of market reports have been linked to the fortunes of the front-runner candidates.

In particular, market-related reports have tended to favour a victory by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa over rival Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

However, Zuma told delegates that the ANC is an organisation that has managed succession over 100 years and it should not be dictated to by external forces.

“We must build a resilient ANC that can withstand such undue pressure and enable the ANC to conduct its organisational work freely,” Zuma said.

ANC delegates are expected to begin the formal nomination process for the top leadership positions of the ANC later today.

Earlier deputy general secretary Jessie Duarte confirmed that credentials for the conference had finally been adopted.

She said that the delay in finalising credentials was due to the outcomes of a number of court challenges.

A total of 4776 official voting delegates will decide who emerges as the next leader of the party with the winner needing at least 2389 to clinch it.

Meanwhile according to reports the proposal to introduce a second deputy president has been shot down.

Last night outgoing national chairperson and Presidential candidate Baleka Mbete endorsed Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa for President.

-Siphiwe Mchunu