Kgalema launches ‘unofficial’ campaign

2012-11-05 07:21

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe’s unofficial campaign launch in Mbizana in the Eastern Cape this weekend was rubbished by supporters of President Jacob Zuma.

Zuma’s supporters gathered in the Lotana village outside Mthatha yesterday on the sidelines of a traditional heritage ceremony, but said Motlanthe had struggled to get anyone to attend his rally.

“All those students had to be bussed in,” they said.

Motlanthe, flanked by those known to support a campaign for leadership change, including Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale and ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa, told the rally on Saturday that former ANC president OR Tambo had to be emulated because he was a unifier.

He said people only showed their true colours once given power.

“Once you are in power ... you will only get to know us for who we are once we are in power,” he said.

He said Tambo’s legacy in his 30 years as the longest-serving president of the party was that he could “keep the organisation together” and he returned the ANC to the next leader, Nelson Mandela, “intact and stronger”.

“That is what we must emulate, all of us. That generosity of spirit and courage to stand for the truth all the time,” he said.

“OR Tambo stood for the truth. The ANC was founded on the principle of unity and love for the people.”

Motlanthe also urged people in the ANC to make peace with each other.

“We can’t hate each other in the ANC and in the same breath say we love the people of South Africa,” he said.

In an apparent criticism of what happened after Zuma defeated former president Thabo Mbeki in Polokwane, and an apparent promise of how he would behave if he got elected, Motlanthe said: “We must ensure that we don’t harbour any bitterness against anyone in the ANC.”

He also urged people to abandon negotiated candidate lists, called slates, because these made the ANC weak.

He said those on the slates were “junior” to its compilers and had to follow their instructions.

“If you are the product of a slate the compilers of the slate will call you from time to time and say we put you there.

“So if memory fails you and you forget they put you there, they will remove you and then the organisation will be weak because it can’t be led by people who fail to enjoy the confidence of the membership, and you can only enjoy the confidence of the membership if you are elected freely,” he said.

More than 1 000 youngsters were in attendence, many local, but some were bussed in from Limpopo, the Western Cape and other provinces.

League deputy president Ronald Lamola called on Motlanthe to lead.

“The people of South Africa expect you to rise and lead the nation, you are the only person now who can rescue this organisation,” he said.

In an apparent sideswipe to Zuma he also said Tambo’s personal life never compromised the integrity of the ANC.

Youth league leaders afterwards said they regarded the rally as a success. They also claimed Motlanthe drew bigger crowds than Zuma did the weekend before.

They also claimed Motlanthe had a warmer reception from the Tambo family when he visited them before the rally.

Tambo’s daughter, Tselani Tambo, also attended the rally and spoke briefly about her father.

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