ANC must rule for eternity: Motshekga
Polokwane - The ANC has a responsibility to rule Limpopo and the whole country "until Jesus pays another visit", ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga said on Tuesday.
Speaking on the last day of the Limpopo ANC's elective conference in Polokwane, Mathale said each member had a responsibility to keep the movement alive.
"The organisation has a responsibility to rule until Jesus pays us another visit," he said to thunderous applause from delegates.
President Jacob Zuma received condemnation from religious groups after he made similar comments in 2009.
Greatest think tank in the world
The four-day conference ended on Tuesday. It saw Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale being re-elected as the ANC's provincial chairperson. He defeated Arts and Culture Deputy Minister Joe Phaahla. Some members in Phaahla's camp left the conference soon after they learned he had lost.
"The ANC is the greatest think tank not only on the continent, but also in the world," he said.
Motshekga commended delegates for their understanding of the character of the ANC through robust discussions aimed at building, and not destroying the party.
Motshekga said the conference was not to be considered a foundation for the ANC's elective conference in Mangaung in December 2012.
"This conference is not about Mangaung, but about this province. The conference was not about the succession debate."
Mathale's victory was a confidence booster for him and his close ally, suspended ANC Youth League president Julius Malema, in their reported efforts to unseat Zuma as ANC president.
However, several provinces still had to hold their elective conferences before the ANC's national conference.
ANC leaders had yet to open the process in which members in their respective branches debated, nominated and submitted lists of preferred candidates to higher structures.
"This province understands that. We should not allow anyone from outside to confuse us, because the choice of leadership of the ANC is the prerogative of the branches of the ANC, and they will do that at an appropriate time," Motshekga said.
Delegates in Polokwane however made it clear through songs and chants that, at Mangaung, they wanted Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to replace Zuma. They referred to the president as the "shower man".
Motshekga said people sometimes confused "genuine concerns" raised by members with conflict. Since its formation, the ANC had created space for its members to raise such concerns.
"The ANC belongs to its members and it will never allow a situation where any of its members feels like an outsider or stepchild. In this conference comrades understood that the ANC is a family and has to continue as such."
Motshekga reminded delegates that the party existed for nothing but delivering services to people.
In a veiled attack on the Democratic Alliance, Motshekga urged the conference to go back and "reconnect" with people and win back areas of the country run by "reactionary elements".
"Liberate our people, because as long as some reactionary elements still control parts of our country, it means our people are not truly liberated.
"We must work hard to make sure we liberate the Western Cape and some wards which have fallen into the hands of people who don't understand why we wanted freedom."