The movement is in crisis, says Zuma

2011-06-27 13:14

The movement leading South Africa is in crisis, President Jacob Zuma has said, bemoaning ill-discipline, pre-maturely introducing key debates and the use of money to promote self-interest.

“Members of powerful organisations believe they can deal with things the way they want and not the way the situation demands,” he told delegates at the labour federation Cosatu’s central committee at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand today.

“For example, we may just decide to say whatever we want and not care about the image of the organisation because we believe even if we lose votes, it will not be a big loss as we are big anyway!” he said.

Zuma is president of the country and the ruling ANC, which is part of an alliance movement with Cosatu and the SA Communist Party.

After this year’s local elections, the ANC in taking stock of the poll results, particularly its performance among minority groups, said comments made by ANC Youth League president Julius Malema could have alienated these groups.

Zuma said the crisis facing the movement was not unique to the ANC, but had affected other liberation movements.

“Our strength could become our weakness if we are not careful,” he warned.

Another challenge the movement faced was the “disappearance of respect and discipline” in the ANC.

“... [We] have introduced a new culture of exchanging views and dealing with the views of other comrades publicly, even before we test such views within our organisations, and with the comrades who hold those views.

“This has introduced a tendency to determine policy on our feet, having not gone through the proper process that would normally help to maintain the dignity of the organisation,” he said, without specifically mentioning Malema’s push for the nationalisation of mines, and land reform.

Malema and the ANCYL managed to get nationalisation onto the ANC’s agenda at its national general council last year, where the party resolved to probe the viability of the state playing a larger role in the economy.

The ANCYL at its national conference this month also pushed for land redistribution without compensation.

“... [W]e introduce some debates prematurely before we have discussed them among ourselves and it creates a space for more disagreement in public on matters that could have [been] discussed and agreed on internally and give leadership as a united voice.”

Zuma reminded ANC members that the party had a “tried and tested” policy making process – which dated back to its formation in 1912.

Another challenge the movement faced was making issues a “free for all”, when members misunderstood the party’s “transparency and openness”.

“This helps a situation wherein people who are not necessarily part of our broad movement but who have certain views to promote, and also those who may have money but certain objectives, to find space to use other people to promote their policies in the movement.

“When interests are at stake, the issue of leadership becomes a matter of life and death,” he said.

“The issue is not how the organisation will or should be led, but how the interests of certain people must be protected.”

Zuma said the “money issue” had become a “big sickness” in the organisation – saying money was used to promote self-interest and this impacted on how the organisation was run.

“We need to uproot this sickness so that our organisations whose interests it is to defend the revolution can become instruments of the revolution rather than instruments of certain classes of certain people.”

He called on members to stop “clique-ism” and “gossip”, and to adhere to the “revolutionary way” of doing things.

“These tendencies must be fought by all who still call themselves revolutionaries.

“Its easy for anyone to call himself or herself a revolutionary who paid nothing to say so,” he added.

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