It's raining within the ANC - analyst

2017-01-08 09:34
ANC supporters (Lerato Sejake, News24)

ANC supporters (Lerato Sejake, News24)

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Johannesburg - The ANC is set to holds its 105th birthday celebrations at Orlando stadium on Sunday, with rain predictions threatening its festivities.

Analysts have said the weather predicted for Gauteng is symbolic of the crisis facing the party.

“It is raining within ANC - it is actually pouring - water is coming through and they are trying to empty the ship but they need to make drastic decisions, political analyst Ralph Mathekga said.

Thousands began to gather in the stadium on Sunday morning as a steady rain fell.

The party wants to use the traditional January 8 statement by the National Executive Committee to be a show of unity amidst deep divisions intensified ahead of its elective conference in December. 

The theme for the rally is “unity in action”.

The statement is supposed to give party foot soldiers the plan of action for the year while recognising the challenges facing the party.

Mathekga said the statement should not “paper... the cracks” but rather it must indicate that the party is aware of the crisis it is in and therefore the leadership is ready to lead it out of the “extra-ordinary circumstances”.

“You can’t use the same message that you used during peace time. You have to show people you understand the urgency of the conditions.  So when they talk unity... we have heard it over and over and it's a peace time message,” Mathekga said.

This January 8 statement is expected to be the last one delivered by President Jacob Zuma as he is expected to step down when new leaders are elected at the party’s national conference.

The party is also using the event to commemorate its long time president Oliver Tambo, who would have turned 100.

Unity

Ironically the first January 8 statement Zuma delivered following his victory at the Polokwane elective conference spoke to unity as well.

“If we are to successfully advance our vision of a national democratic society, we must pay particular attention onto the unity and cohesion of the movement,” the 2008 January 8 statement said.

It had also invoked the spirit of Tambo, quoting his call to grow the party following his return from exile in 1990: “I have devotedly watched over the organisation all these years.  I now hand it over to you bigger, stronger-intact. Guard our precious movement."

However, during Zuma’s tenure the party has seen at least two parties break away, its alliance partner Cosatu is fractured after it expelled its biggest affiliate Numsa after a bruising battle over the trade federation’s relationship with the ANC, and it experienced its worst ever electoral performance in the 2016 municipal polls.

The ANC now sits in opposition benches in the country’s metros of Johannesburg and Tshwane in Gauteng, Nelson Mandela Bay in Eastern Cape, and Cape Town in the Western Cape.

While the ANC has failed to put to rest the ghost of the 2008 epic battle between Zuma and former president Thabo Mbeki, in the past year the division within the party burst into the public arena, as more senior leaders and veterans called for Zuma to step down, or for a consultative conference to deliberate on the health of the organisation.

Zuma survived a motion for him to step down or be recalled at the final NEC for 2016.

His detractors are fed up with his numerous scandals that have seen him in and out of the courts, including a Constitutional Court judgment that he failed to uphold the Constitution, and that he is applying for a review of the State of Capture report that suggested an improper relationship between himself and the controversial Gupta family, which led to their influence in state owned enterprises.

Mathekga said the January 8 statement should not be about “business as usual” as the party is facing “unusual times" with the party divided over its leader.

Read more on:    anc  |  soweto  |  politics

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