ANC says there are no friends in party

2017-03-11 09:24
The Nelson Mandela Bay ANC regional congress got underway on Friday. (Thulani Gqirana, News24)

The Nelson Mandela Bay ANC regional congress got underway on Friday. (Thulani Gqirana, News24)

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Port Elizabeth – It was time for young leadership in Nelson Mandela Bay, the ANC regional congress heard on Friday.

And factionalism had to be a thing of the past for the party to grow, regional task team convener Vuyani Limba said on the first day of the party’s congress.

Limba has been one of the caretakers of the region after it was disbanded in 2014, and he is the first to admit it has been a mammoth task.

The Nelson Mandela Bay ANC congress got off to a slow start on Friday, with delegates only arriving after 10pm. 

Limba was frank in assessing what the party had gone through since 2014.

He said infighting had cost the party the highly contested region. 

“When we fight among ourselves, people will stay away from the polls,” he said.

He said it was time for young people to lead to ANC in the region, a sentiment which was echoed by Andile Lungisa supporters in the congress. 

The incoming leadership needed to get rid of factionalism, as well as gatekeeping in the branches, which led to new members not being accepted.

Pride also had no place in the new leadership, he said.

“If we don’t work together, we will be in trouble.”

Leadership was earned, Limba said.

“We are not friends in the ANC, but comrades. I repeat, we are not friends,” he said. 

The congress also received messages of support from Cosatu and SACP on Friday, which both used the opportunity to pass remarks at former leaders.

Cosatu said they had long been treated as an enemy by ANC in Nelson Mandela Bay, while SACP called for new leadership to pick up the pieces of the “little power they now had”. 

SACP’s Msingathi Sipuka outlined some of the weaknesses of the party in recent years. 

“There has been a systematic process that has been underway for a while now, that of rendering organisational structures, in particular branches, irrelevant.”

The assertion that branches were the most important structures in the organisation was now an urban legend, he said.   

Leaders accounted to factions, he said, rather than the organisation, which was a growing challenge.

“The centre of power has shifted from the organisation to factions that are controlled by individuals that are not even in the organisation,” he said.

The congress will continue until Sunday, when the region is expected to elect new leadership. 

Read more on:    anc  |  port elizabeth

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