ANC still bitter over alliance criticism

2010-09-23 07:15

President Jacob Zuma may have extended an olive branch to alliance partners, but ANC members remain bitter over critical comments from its alliance partners.

On the third day of the ANC’s national executive council in Durban, discipline, and the lack thereof, came under scrutiny.

Tony Yengeni, a national executive committee member, spoke out against the party’s critical alliance partners.

“As the ANC, we will not allow anyone to use the fig leaf of another organisation to attack the ANC,” said Yengeni at a media briefing yesterday.

“Sometimes we have the general secretary of an alliance organisation making statements that impugn the leadership of the ANC. This is a matter that we should discuss with the alliance partners.”

Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has spoken out on corruption in government as well as against business people who use their party connections for lucrative business deals.

Vavi also lashed out at the ANC leadership for failing to take tougher action against allegations of corruption which emerged against cabinet ministers.

He raised the ire of the ANC when he singled out allegations against Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda and Corporate Governance Minister Sicelo Shiceka during a media briefing earlier this year.

The ANC at the time considered taking disciplinary action against Vavi but abandoned the idea, opting to deal with the matter through talks with their alliance partner.

“In relation to members of the alliance, who stand on public platforms and insult the ANC and its leadership, we must take that matter to the allies for discussion,” said Yengeni.

Yengeni said delegates at the NGC had approached him to deal with undisciplined members who criticise the leadership.

“Many delegates at the ANC NGC had been calling on the party’s leadership to act swiftly on indiscipline in relation to certain people,” he said.

“What they are expressing in the commissions is that we are quick to act against certain people, and not too quick to act against certain others.”

While the ANC abandoned taking disciplinary action against Vavi, it went ahead with a disciplinary hearing against ANCYL president Julius Malema – and found him guilty on a charge relating to his criticism of Zuma.

On Monday, Zuma said the alliance “... will live for a long time to come”, but chastised Cosatu over its conduct and comments made during the recent public sector strike.

The federation’s president, S’dumo Dlamini, meanwhile, told Sapa that Cosatu was happy with the debates taking place behind closed doors among ANC delegates at the NGC.

Yesterday commissions discussed an issue on top of the federation’s agenda – the economy.

“We are satisfied in the manner comrades engage in commissions. We believe that we will achieve a lot before the end of the national general council on Friday,” Dlamini told Sapa.

Zuma tours business exhibition

Ahead of the discussions, Zuma visited business players exhibiting their companies in a tent on the sidelines of the NGC.

“Politics and business go together. Once business steps closer to the political party in power, it means things are going very well,” Zuma said after a tour of the exhibition.

“Again, the ANC is the only organisation that at its conferences can have a city (the business exhibition) like this. They (business and the ANC) are together, it’s wonderful.”

Zuma told media that he decided to tour the business exhibition in order to get a sense of how the business community felt to be part of the ANC’s NGC.

Supersport chief executive Imtiaz Patel described Zuma as “charming, warm and genuinely interested”.

Sitsabo Dlamini, of Sitsabo Project Management, said Zuma seemed impressed with his company. Dlamini hoped the NGC would discuss improving the implementation of black economic empowerment

“We believe there is still a lot that needs to be done to allow the smaller players to benefit.”

Dipalo Modibedi of Roadfix SA, another exhibitor visited by Zuma, agreed, saying his company still experienced problems getting government tenders, and that some processes were corrupt.

Modibedi said the company jumped at the opportunity to have a presence at the NGC, where they could mingle with ANC bigwigs, forking out R100 000 for their stall.

Deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe will visit the exhibition today, the penultimate day of the council. 

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