Zuma urges ANC not to lose touch with ‘ordinary members’

2008-06-22 00:00

“The forthcoming 2009 general election will test the ANC to the limit, as many prophets of doom are saying we will not win,” ANC president Jacob Zuma told delegates at the close of the ANC provincial conference in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

At a rally at Qokololo Stadium, Zuma said the ANC’s central task from now on is to prepare properly for next year’s election to make sure more people vote. He warned KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape to work especially hard.

Zuma started by thanking outgoing chairman S’bu Ndebele, saying he demonstrated what leadership is about.

“The test is how you bow out, which at times leaders find difficult,” he said. Referring to Zimbabwe, he warned that it was very easy for large nationalist parties like the ANC to lose their way.

The ANC president urged party delegates and leaders not to lose touch with ordinary members, saying they must begin to report back to people. “Yesterday I went to Springs where there have been problems with xenophobia. One issue the community raised was the lack of comrades coming to them. They told us that the comrades come for votes, but after the election they don’t come back. You need to go back. The ANC is not an arrogant organisation, although it is a proud organisation.”

Zuma congratulated the province on a well-run conference, saying it portrayed a correct image of the movement.

“This conference showed what can be achieved through disciplined conduct. You knew how you were going to handle succession, hence we were spared the scenes we have seen in the other provinces.”

Newly elected chairman Dr Zweli Mkhize said conference delegates were unequivocal in their support of Zuma as he faces prosecution on charges that he said the ANC believes are unnecessary.

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