ANC NEC to ‘supervise’ provincial conferences

2012-03-26 08:33

Songs and gestures that “denigrate the leadership of the ANC” will not be tolerated at the party’s provincial conferences, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe has warned.

Mantashe told journalists at a press conference yesterday, following a meeting of the party’s national executive committee (NEC), that NEC members have been asked to “supervise” the four provincial conferences to be held in the next two months.

This is “to ensure disciplined conduct of our members and also the success of these conferences”, Mantashe said.

This comes after delegates at the provincial conference in Limpopo last year December sang songs referring to President Jacob Zuma as “the shower man”, saying he was causing problems.

The delegates, led by ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, also made the sign of a shower head. At other occasions Zuma’s detractors have made the soccer substitution sign, first used in his favour at Polokwane in 2007, to show they want a change from the Zuma leadership.

KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, the Free State and the Northern Cape are all set to have provincial elective conferences before the end of May, Mantashe said.

KwaZulu-Natal is a Zuma stronghold, but in the other provinces there is sure to be some contestation between those who want to see him stay and those who want to see change.

Mantashe also said the NEC would be looking at appeals against the outcome of the Limpopo conference, but he denied there would be a probe.

Asked what action the party would take against those who caused disorder at the conferences, Mantashe said it wasn’t possible to tell beforehand.

He said the party couldn’t just say it would arrest or discipline people if there are other options, like talking to them.

The NEC meeting also discussed the party’s discussion document on organisational renewal, and it was agreed that the document needed to be refined before it is released for discussion next Monday.

Mantashe said the NEC discussed protests around the celebration of Human Rights Day in Kliptown instead of Sharpeville.

He criticised the ANC Youth League’s protests as “opportunistic”, adding that there had been no protests before when the day was celebrated in other cities.

By recognising the day on which the Sharpeville massacre took place as a public holiday “means that the role of Sharpeville in her people in our shared history has not diminished, but has been enhanced”, he said.

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