'For the ANC to survive', conference or NEC must recall Zuma - Lamola

2017-12-08 14:53
Former deputy president of the ANC Youth League Ronald Lamola. (Picture: Felix Dlangamandla)

Former deputy president of the ANC Youth League Ronald Lamola. (Picture: Felix Dlangamandla)

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Johannesburg – Former ANC Youth League deputy president Ronald Lamola believes the upcoming ANC elective conference, or the National Executive Committee that is elected at the conference, should recall President Jacob Zuma for the party to "survive" in the face of what is expected to be a fierce contest for power in the 2019 national elections.

"For the ANC to survive, President Zuma must be recalled. There is no any other way," Lamola told News24.

The ANC is holding its 54th national elective conference between December 16 and 20 in Johannesburg. The party is gripped by a tense presidential race to replace Zuma, who is stepping down after two terms at the helm.

PODCAST: 'For the ANC to survive, President Zuma must be recalled'

"If the ANC can't do it, there is no way you can convince society that there is a new lease of life after the national conference," he said.

Lamola, however, admitted that the issue risked "degenerating" the conference, which is already threatened by a factional leadership contest, but added that branches should use the conference to speak out.

Zuma has survived two motions of no confidence in the NEC, after a dismal performance in the local government elections, the Constitutional Court ruling that he failed to uphold the Constitution by refusing to pay back the money for non-security upgrades at his Nkandla home, and allegations of state capture by his Gupta friends.

"The only unfortunate part is that it might degenerate the conference, but the reality is that… we might have to die for us to live, to reawaken. It’s a reality.

"We must confront that situation, we can’t run away from it," he said.

'Members of the ANC know the truth'

Lamola has often cut a lone figure, calling for Zuma to go. In March 2016, he led a protest of a handful of supporters outside a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting, demanding that they remove Zuma "immediately".

Then, in September, he was one of the leaders of an "Occupy Luthuli House" group which demanded that both Zuma and the NEC step down for failing to hold Zuma accountable for his many scandals that had cost the party at the 2016 polls.

However, despite being shunned by his peers in the Youth League, Lamola has been nominated by at least four provinces to become an NEC member.

He topped nominations in Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo and appeared in 29th spot on the Western Cape NEC nomination list. Lamola said his nomination was a triumph for his generation, who had seen the ANC disband the league, expel its then-president Julius Malema, and suspend other leaders.

"It shows you that members of the ANC know the truth, although they were not openly supporting the call for President Jacob Zuma to leave, and not coming in their numbers because of various factors, like we didn’t have transport.

Others is the reality of patronage in the structures of the ANC, but it tells you in their hearts, in their homes, in their small corners, they agreed with us that this is a reality, and we cannot allow pensioner comrades, who have served their term, to kill the ANC in front of us," Lamola said.

'We need a new fresh start'

Although Zuma is stepping down, he is still largely seen as powerful and influential in the party, with many of his supporters now campaigning for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to take over from him.

Lamola believes the "anti-Zuma" sentiment will extend to his ex-wife and risks costing the ANC the 2019 elections.

"You don’t need analysis. It’s a basic thing that you see, when you walk in the streets, at taxi ranks, and in our own village, we are told the same thing, that we need a new fresh start," he said.

ALSO READ: Ramaphosa: I will pledge my loyalty to whoever becomes ANC leader

Lamola is backing Ramaphosa in the presidential race.

He said while Ramaphosa was not necessarily the "best solution", the Dlamini-Zuma campaigners had not explained why they don’t want Ramaphosa to succeed Zuma, despite introducing him at the 2012 election conference as the person who would do so.

He also lamented the lack of young people on the slates for the top six.

"It is a very unfortunate thing. I think it is regrettable that it is happening now. The whole country is youthful, Africa is youthful, the whole world is youthful… we are entering a 4th industrial revolution, which needs fresh blood and new thinking, so it is highly regrettable and unfortunate that the top six will not have a young person, in the real sense of the word," he said.

VISIT our dedicated site for all the latest news, analysis and opinions on the ANC's national elective conference: #ANCVotes

Read more on:    anc  |  jacob zuma  |  ronald lamola  |  johannesburg  |  anc leadership race  |  anc votes

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