Zuma must resign as SA president for ANC unity to happen in 2018 - stalwarts

Johannesburg - The stalwarts and veterans of the ANC have said in their "New Year's resolutions" that for the party to achieve unity, President Jacob Zuma had to resign as leader of the country.

The stalwarts shared their reflections for the party on the eve of the last day of 2017. 

They congratulated Cyril Ramaphosa on his election as president of the ANC, saying they hoped his leadership would be a breath of fresh air. They said he would not have an easy road, given the challenges the ANC faced. 

The group said that the unity which was talked about in 2017 needed to become a reality in 2018. 

"It cannot be that difficult to see what our country sees is wrong with our movement," they said.  

'Unacceptable behaviour'

The stalwarts said the ANC leadership needed to know the days of unacceptable behaviour were over and the president of the country needed to give the new leadership of the ANC the opportunity to prepare for the 2019 elections. 

"A starting point and a clear message to the country, would be for our country’s president to voluntarily step down in the interests of country and the African National Congress. If the president really loves the ANC and wants it to remain in power by 2019 he would assist it by handing over the leadership of the country to the newly elected president of the ANC to better prepare for the 2019 elections," they said. 

The stalwarts added that there needed to be a departure from the party's unacceptable tolerance of corruption. 

"In 2018 no one should ever again believe that they can avoid their day in court because of their position in society. Real action against corruption has to happen, with the urgent appointment of a new head of the National Prosecuting Authority and the politicsation of our law enforcement agencies."

New members

The stalwarts also said they wanted to encourage new members to join their ranks, particularly the youth and women.

"The recent elective conference was not only a sad articulation on divisions, slates, factions and deals, but an indictment of the present state of both these leagues [youth and women]; the failure to elect women and youth into our new leadership and an expression of the continued patriarchy within our movement and wider society."  

The stalwarts said they also wanted to see legitimate ex-members of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) unified under one organisation, as they never again wanted to see youngsters in uniform on the street "playing at being soldiers". 

The group also said the ANC needed to return to being a unifier in the country, committed to creating a non-racial, non-sexist society. They called for an end to opportunist and popularist racial comments from the party.

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