Singing won’t win you Mangaung – Mbalula

2012-09-27 06:47

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula has warned that singing won’t win leaders any battles at the ANC’s elective congress in Mangaung – only debate and persuasion will.

Speaking four days before the ANC’s nominations process for its congress opens, Mbalula said: “Leadership elections can’t be reduced to freedom songs, you must debate. If you sing, you won’t understand the debate, but the personality.”

“The politics of today has been reduced to the politics of freedom songs. That is why we don’t know what our future is.”

With this speech Mbalula broke an apparent self-imposed silence of months on ANC matters.

Addressing about 150 ANC Youth League members in an almost full lecture hall at the Witwatersrand University last night in celebration of the league’s 68th birthday, he said the singing had reduced leadership to mediocrity.

“It’s about who sings the loudest,” he said in an apparent veiled reference to President Jacob Zuma, who he didn’t mention by name but who became hugely popular for singing songs like his trademark Umshini Wami.

The ANC’s nominations process is set to start on Monday, and the party will allow an open debate on leadership from then.

Mbalula, who as youth league leader at the time was key to Zuma getting elected at the ANC’s last congress in Polokwane in 2007, said Mangaung would not be like Polokwane.

Securing a victory for Zuma over former president Thabo Mbeki at Polokwane as “a meticulous, endurance, decisive, uncompromising act of war”, Mbalula said.

“And it was unapologetic. And Polokwane was not about economic freedom, but about political change in the structures of the organisation,” he said.

This time around it will be about economic freedom, he said.

He admitted that those who fought on Zuma’s side had made a mistake at the time by “losing a bunch of comrades who are very much talented politically”.

These people, Mbeki supporters, were lost “in the midst of the majority because we didn’t want to apply our minds to leadership”, he said, adding that the ANC should be allowed to discuss leadership openly instead of “in beerhalls, under the carpet” and in secret with selected journalists.

Instead, Mbalula said the debate on leadership was reduced to soccer signs with those showing the substitution sign (he made a rolling motion with his hands as he said this) were wrong, while those who showed the V-sign, were right.

This sign, which could also denote “peace and love” or Kaizer Chiefs, was even being displayed at funerals, Mbalula said.

“Let us open, let us debate (leadership),” he said, referring to the fact that the debate has started in the showing of signs.

“The horse has bolted, people are discussing (leadership).”

He said it was not “if you shout the loudest that is going to win you the day, it is the correct politics of the movement.

And the leaders of the ANC, we must leave Mangaung single-minded that I lobbied, I tried, I was finished even before I get to Mangaung, and Mangaung was just a station that confirmed my demise. Democratic, is it, but do it in the organisation.”

In an apparent criticism of Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale, who has stepped down from his campaign to become president, Mbalula said talking to the papers would not “change the mindset of ANC members” or win an election within the ANC.

Despite calls for opening the leadership debate early, Mbalula did not mention any names of leaders he preferred.

ANC Youth League deputy president Ronald Lamola, however, said the league would nominate Mbalula, who is “a great leader” for party secretary-general, to take over from Gwede Mantashe.

He also said the league would nominate Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe for president, even if he didn’t want to stand.

Motlanthe, who Zuma supporters want on their list in his current position, has not declared as yet whether he would heed the league’s call.

Lamola said the league didn’t need permission from anybody to nominate Motlanthe.

“We also do not need permission from him to realise that he is a leader of the ANC. We have seen his credentials, we are convinced that he has been there, he has seen everything, a level-headed leader of the ANC, a person of principle, a leaders that is true the values of the ANC, a leader that is always a voice of reason during difficult time. That is what the ANC needs to navigate through its current quagmire,” he said

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.