Zuma takes charge

2010-09-21 00:00

ANC president Jacob Zuma took aim yesterday at members who are undermining the party and put a lid on the succession and nationalisation debates.

Zuma warned members that action will be taken against party members involved in public spats and discussions of the 2012 succession and related leadership preferences.

Zuma was speaking at the opening of the ANC’s national general council (NGC) at the Durban Exhibition Centre.

In a hard-hitting speech that lasted almost two hours, Zuma lashed out at members mobilising and lobbying for succession and said this gives the wrong impression that the ANC comprises “groups of people who are preoccupied with fighting for influential positions to advance personal interests, instead of advancing the programme of the organisation”.

In May, the ANC banned public spats and 2012-related succession debate within the party following a call by the ANC Youth League for secretary-general Gwede Mantashe to be replaced by the former ANCYL president and Police Deputy Minister, Fikile Mbalula.

Zuma said, “This was done to strengthen unity, prevent confusion and avoid undermining the confidence of the membership in the leadership that has been elected until the next conference.

“The time has come for the organisation to act … Those who engage in such activities are undermining the organisation and its work, and at worst, undermining the unity of the organisation.

“A decision has been taken that those who take the organisation to court before the exhaustion of organisation processes should be summarily suspended … Equally, those in authority must not close doors to those processes.”

He slated what he described as divisive tendencies within the ANC, with two factions — the “anti-communists” and the “anti-nationalists” — pitted against one another.

“We have no choice but to reintroduce revolutionary discipline in the ANC. If we fail to do so, we would be weakening the very fibre and existence of the ANC … all liberation movements face such a test and have to deal with all sorts of opportunistic tendencies …”

In a clear reference to the youth league’s past insinuations that it is independent from the mother body, Zuma said: “Politically and organisationally, the leagues [ANCYL and the women’s league] are structures of the ANC and are subject to ANC discipline. The ANC is not in alliance with its own leagues …”

He promised that after the NGC, the ANC leadership will work with the youth league on “organisational” issues.

The president also allayed fears that the alliance is heading for a crash. He said a decision has been taken to engage alliance partner Cosatu after the NGC to evaluate the recent public servants’ strike and remind one another of the role of the alliance.

Turning to the performance of his government, Zuma conceded that there were some shortcomings in its performance in the past 15 years, and there is therefore a need to improve the functioning of state machinery to improve the quality and speed of service delivery.

He also pointed out the successes and challenges faced by the government in the creation of jobs, health, education, fighting crime and corruption, rural development and land reform, local government and international relations.

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