‘ANC is a mess, divided and in trouble’

2011-02-21 21:09

The ANC is in a “complete mess” and its “younger cadres” have no interest in its history but simply “want access to jobs and personal enrichment”, ANC Gauteng spokesperson Dumisa Ntuli reportedly told a US diplomat.

Details of the “candid” discussion are contained in a “sensitive” US embassy cable which was leaked to whistleblower website WikiLeaks and obtained exclusively by City Press.

Ntuli this week denied discussing internal ANC issues with the US embassy.

Dated October 29 2009, the cable gives insight into the crippling divisions plaguing the ruling ­party at the time, and internal ­concerns about the ability of President Jacob Zuma’s government to deliver on its promises ahead of the local government elections this year.

Ntuli did not mince his words, reportedly saying the party was deeply divided not only between supporters of Zuma and former president Thabo Mbeki, but “along multiple other lines”.

“There are diehard Zuma supporters, the pro-labour people, the communists, the pro-Mbeki people, and no one speaks for the same things,” Ntuli is quoted as saying.

The cable notes: “Party leaders are seeking ways to restructure and unify the party so that younger members understand the history and values of the ANC.

“However, according to Ntuli, these efforts are not going well and will only lead to failure.

“He said: ‘The younger cadres have no interest in the history of the ANC. They want access to jobs and personal enrichment.’

“Worse than the lack of interest in history, (Ntuli) claimed, is that they will not listen to, or respect, senior officials.”

Ntuli lamented that party members were “mostly focused on jockeying for positions to be decided upon at the 2012 national congress”, saying: “The party isn’t even focused on the 2011 ­local elections.”

Ntuli, whom diplomats came to regard as an Mbeki loyalist, said the “Zuma government will not come close to delivering” on the party’s resolutions.

He said the ANC was concerned that it would lose to the Democratic Alliance in the Tshwane metro during this year’s local ­government elections.

“We have big internal problems in Tshwane,” he is quoted as saying. He reportedly attributed the “problems” to “infighting over government positions”.

In an analysis of the discussion, the document’s author said Ntuli’s comments “underscored how internal problems continued to distract the ruling party”.

Ntuli this week said he had not seen the cable, adding: “I am just surprised, because I never had any meeting with the embassy about those issues.”

US diplomatic interest in the rifts within the ANC are reflected in other cables from this period, notably one detailing a meeting between ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa, US ambassador Donald Gips and the deputy chief of the US mission to South Africa, Helen la Lime.

During the meeting, Phosa reportedly expressed concern about the “ongoing tensions ­within the ANC and with its alliance partners”.

The meeting, held on ­December?17 2009, occurred against the backdrop of bitter feuding between senior ANC and alliance members and calls from Zuma for ANC leaders to refrain from publicly attacking one another.

Phosa reportedly said the ANC needed a “cool-down period soon” or the 2012 party congress “will be worse than Polokwane” and admitted that he, too, was in danger of losing his position at the congress.

He added that it was “harmful” for so many ANC members to be discussing the “leadership ­succession question so long ­before the ANC’s next leadership elections”.

Contacted this week, Phosa ­declined to comment about the cable, saying: “I do not want to ­dignify WikiLeaks.
“As a lawyer, I will not dignify documents written by a third ­party that I have never seen.”

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