Pietermaritzburg – President Jacob Zuma on Saturday told members of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal to stop fighting.
“Whatever the outcomes, that must be the end of the tensions in this province,” said Zuma.
Speaking at the 8th Provincial Conference in Pietermaritzburg, Zuma also re-emphasised the importance of branches, saying they were central to the ANC.
“Branches are the basic units of the organisation and they constitute the primary vehicle through which the ANC mobilises and organises people behind its progressive agenda.”
Zuma said the conference was a conference of the branches in KZN not a conference of leaders.
“When you talk about building the organisation, you must strengthen the branches because that is where the authority lies.
“We do it the other way around; we tell the branches what to do…”
In what sounded like confirmation that he wouldn’t be returning for a third term Zuma said, “I heard rumours that I am a liability, and I told them they don’t know me. I am going back to my branch and exercise my right at the branch and you will find me there.
“That day you will realise that I am not a liability. I am in the ANC, I belong to a branch and I understand the tasks of a branch and I am going to come here as a branch member and a delegate.”
“We will meet at the top, when you look around, I will be right there. How can a member of the ANC be a liability? I didn’t join the ANC as the president, I was an ordinary cadre, a volunteer and so you can’t refer to me as a liability.”
He said, “Just because someone has been holding a position and if he leaves the position you forget about the ANC. I will be a member of the ANC until I die and I will be active in the ANC until I die so I will always going anywhere.”
He again warned against gatekeeping.
“The pulse of the ANC and its members can only be felt in the branches, not in leadership.”
Zuma told delegates that no one was bigger than the organisation.
“There are comrades who fight [for positions] like there is no tomorrow. Comrades isolate others who are not close to them.”
He said if delegates were honest with one another the organisation would be healthier.
“Contesting must be user friendly and whoever wins…you must accept it,” said Zuma.
He said he joined the ANC and not a person.
“You can say I am going to jail, you can lie and say that I am corrupt, I will hold on the movement…”
Zuma pleaded with delegates to stop dividing the party.
“Slates, divisions…Are bad,” said Zuma.