Calls for unity amid ‘bruising engagements’

2010-05-06 15:23

Gauteng ANC chairperson Paul Mashatile urged members attending the

Gauteng ANC elective conference not to sing songs that accentuate divisions over

leadership preferences.

Supporters of Mashatile and his deputy, Nomvula Mokonyane – who are

engaged in a contest for the leadership of the party in the province – gathered

at the conference venue, the Tshwane Events Centre, from early this

morning.

Addressing the conference, Mashatile appealed for unity: “I am

asking the conference to sing unifying songs. I know there are some of you who

love me very much and some who love comrade Nomvula very much. But let us sing

uniting songs. It doesn’t matter how we are going to vote, let’s sing good

songs.”

Mashatile also warned the conference that it was important for the

ANC to focus on its mission of transforming society saying liberation movements

tend to lose political power after twenty years “as a result of not focusing on

the strategic tasks of the revolution”.

He asked government to intensify its mission to get rid of shanty

towns by 2014, saying it should provide land to enable people to build their own

houses as it would not manage to build all the houses on its own.

ANC national chairperson Baleka Mbete said the 1 500 delegates

should avoid voting for a fixed list of candidates. However, it seemed unlikely

that delegates would not vote for either of the mutually exclusive candidate

lists.

Mbete said: “It’s true that when we go towards conference we go

through a bruising engagement. I appeal to you to make this conference a

dignified one. Even when we make that exercise of electing leaders, let’s behave

in a way that reminds us we have to remain comrades even after the conference.

It is important that we elect them but we have to work together for the people

of South Africa.”

She praised the outgoing leadership for staging a good campaign

that saw the party getting 65% of the vote in the province but expressed concern

that it had lost seven seats in the provincial legislature and had also lost a

ward to the Congress of the People in Tembisa on the East Rand.

She also raised concerns about the role of ANC branches in the wave

of service delivery protests that have rocked the country over the past couple

of months.

Mbete said party members needed to focus on strengthening the ANC

and said it was not possible to do so when branches are weak.

Delegates are expected to vote for the top five positions tonight

with results due tomorrow.

 

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