Respect is not negotiable

2012-01-16 00:00

AS the ANC gears-up for its national elective conference in Mangaung in December this year, the party’s secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe, yesterday issued a stern warning to members to desist from singing songs that insult party leadership, saying those who continue to do so will find themselves in serious trouble.

Addressing the KwaZulu-Natal edition of the ANC’s Centenary Celebrations, which was held at Gamalakhe FET College in Port Shepstone, Mantashe said singing insulting songs against ANC leaders by ANC members “were signs of ill-discipline and not militancy”.

“If comrades were insulting ANC leadership on the way to Polokwane [conference in 2007], it is up to all the ANC structures to ensure that ANC leaders are not insulted. Ill discipline has no precedent as we go to Mangaung,” Mantashe said.

He said those who continue to sing these songs “bazodibana nenyoka iphunga umhluzi” (they will be confronted by a snake drinking soup) meaning they will find themselves in serious trouble.

Since the succession battle within the ANC started to gain momentum and the disciplinary process against the ANC Youth League leaders, top ANCYL had been observed singing songs that are insulting to some ANC leaders, especially ANC president Jacob Zuma and Mantashe. The ANCYL had been on record calling for the two leaders to be replaced by ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe and former ANCYl president Fikile Mbalula, respectively.

Despite having been accused of settling a political disagreement score by orchestrating disciplinary action against ANCYL leaders, Mantashe yesterday dismissed the accusations saying that in the ANC discipline is not used to settle political disagreements.

“We must always remind ourselves of the values that guides us when we joined the ANC — selflessness, humility and discipline … Discipline … must be guided by principle. You must know that militancy plus ill-discipline equals to anarchy.”

Thousands of people turned out to attend the colourful function, which resulted in its starting two hours late due to traffic jams as there was only one road leading to the event.

Mantashe said ANC branches must not take (leadership candidate) lists if they don’t know where they come from as people use money to manipulate branches to execute decisions taken in private “by few people who have resources and monies.”

He urged branches to discuss the leadership and policies of the ANC and not allow themselves to be dwarfs of other people who have their private intentions.

“Only branches of the ANC can save the ANC when it is under siege from within and without … It is these branches that will save the ANC from the cancer of corruption.”

The local Port Shepstone-based municipality, Hibiscus Coast, which received the ANC’s ZK Matthews Award, was also presented with the award by Mantashe during the ceremony.

In his address KZN ANC chairperson Zweli Mkhize also called for discipline among ANC members and for members to stop singing songs that insult leaders.

A giant cake with ANC colours was also cut and shared among the leadership and those who were lucky enough to get close to where it was being distributed.

Deputy chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Thandi Memela proposed the toast after champagne corks popped.

The function was also attended by family members of previous presidents of the ANC including family members of Inkosi Albert Luthuli, Dr J.L. Dube, Pixley Seme, Josiah Gumede as well as other struggle stalwarts.

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