‘No crisis, democracy at play’ - president

2016-06-22 06:00
ANC president Jacob Zuma delivers his keynote address during the party’s provincial manifesto launch at Harry Gwala Stadium. PHOTO: sabelo nsele

ANC president Jacob Zuma delivers his keynote address during the party’s provincial manifesto launch at Harry Gwala Stadium. PHOTO: sabelo nsele

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CLOSE the ranks - this was the message from alliance partners as they downplayed protests that have emerged due to ANC candidate lists for the local government elections.

The ruling party hosted its provincial manifesto launch at Pietermaritzburg’s Harry Gwala Stadium over the weekend, in the wake of protests and the murders of active political members of the ANC in the Moses Mabhida region.

Though public property has been damaged in the protests, including a R2 million clinic burnt in Copesville during a protest related to the candidate list, President Jacob Zuma said the situation did not constitute a crisis.

“People out there look at it as crisis. It is not a crisis - it is democracy at play.

“The fact that ANC people can voice their dissatisfaction even in public, that is democracy,” he said.

Zuma called on those not selected as candidates to accept the situation and move on.

“Regardless of who the candidate is, we are all comrades - not enemies. We cannot treat each other like we are not from the same organisation. If you were not elected, there is always next time,” he said.

The SACP, an alliance partner of the ANC, had threatened to pull out of the ruling party’s election campaign ­because they were not happy with how the nomination lists had been compiled.

However, provincial ANC chairperson Sihle Zikalala said yesterday the alliance partners had attended the manifesto launch to close the chapter of infighting in the alliance.

Zikalala said whoever was unhappy with the lists should voice their concerns within the party’s internal structures.

“They must not go out and burn tyres and schools. These are internal matters that need to be addressed internally,” he said.

Zikalala had a stern warning for ANC members who intended to stand as independent candidates.

“If you decide to become an independent candidate, give back the ANC membership card and T-shirt,” he said.

“If you decide to be an independent candidate, you are independent from what? ANC?” he asked.

Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini called on all those who had not made it to the lists to support those who had been selected.

“Nobody should die to become a councillor,” he said.

If there was one thing that the alliance partners appeared to be worried about, it was the escalating number of political killings in the province.

Four ANC members have been shot dead in the Pietermaritzburg region alone this month.

Zuma called on all political parties to work together to stop the killings.

Known for its dark past of political killings during the run-up to the 1994 elections, the province has seen an increasing number of political killings as 3 August approaches.

Zuma said the “senseless” killings had no place in democracy.

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