Mkhize wants reconciliation and unity

2012-05-14 00:00

NEWLY elected KwaZulu-Natal ANC chairperson, Dr Zweli Mkhize lambasted statements made by three senior politicians, saying they are destroying the legacy of reconciliation left by Nelson Mandela.

Mkhize told delegates at the closing session of the ANC’s regional conference in Newcastle yesterday that the party was disappointed by the destructive utterances which have the effect of undermining reconciliation and opening old wounds that President Mandela and many of our leaders worked so hard to [heal].

He requested “all the oppressed to embrace those who presided over apartheid brutality, land dispossession and suppression of human rights.”

He cited three statements as particularly insensitive, “cutting open wounds that our leaders worked so hard to soothe”. The first statement — attributed to former President FW De Klerk — was that the homeland system was better than the democratic government; the second statement was by was Freedom Front Plus leader Peter Mulder, who said black people were not part of the Western and Northern Cape when whites settled there; and the third was DA leader Helen Zille’s description of “educational refugees” to the Western Cape.

At the conference all the provincial top five leaders Mkhize, Nomsa Dube (deputy secretary), Peggy Nkonyeni (treasurer), Willis Mchunu (deputy chairperson)and Sihle Zikalala (secretary) all retained their positions.

Nhlakanipho Ntombela — who was not part of the eThekwini candidate list, but was also nominated from the floor — did not make it into the Provincial Executive Committee (PEC).

Mkhize said KZN would still support President Jacob Zuma and his leadership, without necessarily opening the succession debate. “We have noted attempts from some quarters that continuously attack the ANC in the province on this matter.

“We shall not be moved by those who make accusations and unfounded allegations and insinuations in the media,” he said.

He said in some cases party members have engaged and opposed any effort to introduce the leadership debate clandestinely in the province.

“Similarly, we have rejected the suggestion of being part of a plot to unseat President Zuma. I have distanced myself from this plot and I have a responsibility to set the record straight.

“When this was publicly rejected, it was deliberately distorted by those who sought to sow divisions,” he said. Mkhize added: “No lies, no allegations of plots, no accusations of tribalism will separate us from President Zuma — he was elected to lead a collective in the last conference and we must all respect the decision of conference”.

Mkhize said he found it strange that KZN and other provinces could campaign enthusiastically for presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, but when the province did the same for Zuma, it was suddenly sinister.

During the closing session delegates called for the ongoing saga in the KZN ANCYL to be resolved within three months “because it destabilises the work of league in the regions”.

The conference also resolved to support the move to have judges declare their business interests as public servants, stating they would call for this resolution next month in the policy conference in Johannesburg.

Mkhize said he appreciated the creativity of songs sung by delegates, but advised members against divisive ditties. “It is important for us to pay attention to our songs that will always unite and strengthen the ANC.

“It was clear from the songs that different components and regions reflected on their experiences through the songs they introduced to conference. We must also be careful not to allow the need for public censure of individuals whose misconduct we disapprove of to be elevated to ANC songs,” he said.

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