President Jacob Zuma was nowhere to be found on the first day of the SA Local Government Association (Salga) national conference as news spread that his leadership of the ruling ANC hangs in the balance.
Instead, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the Salga elective conference on Tuesday along with Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Des van Rooyen. The conference is being held at the Sandton Convention Centre until Thursday.
Zuma was initially expected to address the meeting on Monday. However, Zuma has been rescheduled to address the gathering on its last day, Thursday. He was said to be attending the ANC national executive committee (NEC) meeting deciding his fate in Irene, outside Pretoria, where the party leadership has been hotly discussing his future in the light of the State of Capture report of former public protector Thuli Madonsela, as well as other scandals.
Some members have called for Zuma to step down and others have been opposed to that idea. The NEC is reportedly divided almost straight down the middle on the matter.
The entire first day of the Salga gathering was spent registering the delegates, guests and and the media until late afternoon.Some delegates expressed agitation at the slow pace of registration, which happened on the ground floor and on the third floor, where name tags were made and collected. Others were complaining about being hungry, as lunch was not served to all the delegates. Many did not have food vouchers and tags to collect their lunch.
Other guests expected to speak on Tuesday are outgoing Salga chairman Thabo Manyoni and Eskom’group executive for customer services Ayanda Noah.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura will speak on Wednesday morning on the Sustainable Development Goals Vision-2030 while Cogta Deputy Minister Andries Nel will discuss the New Urban Agenda Habitat III.
There will also be inputs on the Paris Accord on Climate Change, disaster risk reduction, opportunities for meaningful transformation, sustainable cities and tackling inequality through effective national and international efforts.
The gathering will also deal with revenue enhancement and sound fiscal policy, and promoting good governance and ethical leadership among others.
On the last day on Thursday, Salga CEO Xolile George will present the Draft Strategic Vision 2017-22 for the organidation.
On the same day, a new leadership of Salga will be elected before Zuma is expected to wrap up the meeting with his address.