Mbalula: Leaders must be politically mature
Johannesburg - The leaders of the ANC should be chosen based on political maturity, ANC executive committee member Fikile Mbalula said on Thursday.
The debate around the 'generational mix' should also not be understood solely on the basis of a candidate's age, Mbalula wrote in a column published in The Sowetan newspaper.
"... [W]hen the leadership of each generation takes over, it should be based on having achieved high levels of political maturity and intellectual zest arising from long years of service in the various structures of the movement."
Writing in his personal capacity, Mbalula said that over and above this, the African National Congress leadership should be appointed against a backdrop of the challenges facing the party.
These included adequately addressing poverty, unemployment, education and health.
‘New chapter for the ANC’
He said ANC elders needed to be praised for their contribution to the struggle, which had led to the healing years.
"But now that the healing period should be considered to have been given its chance, one can argue that we have to open a new chapter in the new century of the ANC that the period will be defined by radical transformation."
Leadership was also a dynamic concept that should be debated only at congress level, such as at the Mangaung elective conference later this year.
"The question has to be asked whether in their current form the structures of the ANC allow for smooth changes in leadership."
Mbalula said the generational mix issue had been manipulated by some to advance their own agenda.
"The reality is that even the comrades who deny the validity of the principle of generational mix are themselves beneficiaries of it.
"A mature response... should be one that sets aside the names that have been presented and looks at the merit... as a genuine attempt to use principles for electing the leaders at the next congress.
"We should not devour principle because of political expediency," said Mbalula.
ANCYL wants Zuma replaced
ANC branches start nominating candidates for all the party's national executive committee positions in October.
Mbalula, who is sports minister, is the ANC Youth League's favourite to replace Gwede Mantashe as ANC secretary general.
The ANCYL has made it clear that it also wants President Jacob Zuma replaced with Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.
Mbalula said the fact that traditionally outgoing leaders were replaced by their second in command might not be healthy for the party.
"Should it always follow that because you are deputy president you automatically qualify as a candidate for president?
"Should the organisation not be smart enough and act in ways that remove these obvious expectations?" Mbalula asked.