Zuma: Choose right leaders

2012-12-10 00:00

THE use of social networking was banned at the KZN ANC Cadre Forum, held yesterday at the University of Zululand.

Media were also not allowed to listen to President Jacob Zuma’s address to the over 5 000 delegates at the venue. ANC KZN provincial chairperson Zweli Mkhize said the forum was an internal party meeting to prepare for the ANC’s elective conference in Mangaung. He said members needed to feel free to question the president.

However, sources within the conference said Zuma gave the members a pep talk, reminding them of their responsibility to choose the right leadership for the party and to stop fighting over positions, which gave the organisation a bad name. Some saw it as the president’s last bid at canvassing before the elective conference which starts on Sunday, December 16.

Addressing leadership, Zuma reportedly said it was a question of who was driving the ANC bus. Zuma told delegates to ensure the driver and conductor were the right people to avoid ending up in a destination they didn’t want.

Zuma was reported to have questioned the great interest in the election of the party’s leadership. Sources say he told the gathering that a possible reason was that South Africa was an important country to control, and to control it you had to control the ANC. Foreign interests therefore needed a leader in the ANC who could be controlled. He added, however, that the ANC was not controlled by one leader, but a collective and that in order to control the ANC, one needed to control the entire national executive committee.

Zuma had harsh words for those fighting for positions and condemned political killings. He warned people elected to leadership positions at any level not to become big-headed, as they were there to serve. Zuma added that those who fought over positions needed to be educated, because it gave the wrong impression to ANC members. He said the ANC served all people, but now it seemed members were doing what was in their own interest or those of cliques.

Zuma reportedly told the meeting that no matter how powerful a leader was, the ANC was more important and there was a need to preserve that.

ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said Zuma had been invited by the province a long time ago to address the cadre forum.

ANC provincial chairperson Zweli Mkhize told the gathering that they were going to the Mangaung conference as a humble and disciplined delegation.

They were open to persuasion in nominating leaders, but would also try to do their own persuading. Mkhize said the KZN approach to the conference was that “whatever the conference decides, we will accept”.

Zikalala said the Mangaung conference was critical because it would decide on the future direction of the party in two critical areas — its economic policy and organisational renewal.

*President Zuma had visited former president Nelson Mandela in hospital in Pretoria before flying in by military helicopter to the ANC’s cadre forum at the University of Zululand.

He was scheduled to leave the conference at 2 pm to meet King Goodwill Zwelithini at his eNyokeni Palace, near Nongoma.

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