‘Unity over anything’ - ANC

2018-01-09 13:45
ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa (right) lays a wreath at the grave of former party president, Albert Luthuli in Groutville on Monday.

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa (right) lays a wreath at the grave of former party president, Albert Luthuli in Groutville on Monday. (Clive Ndou)

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New ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday made it clear that uniting the party in KZN has become his main priority.

This has given rise to suggestions that he might be hesitant about immediately taking steps to have Jacob Zuma step down as president of the country.

Addressing ANC members in Groutville, north of Durban, Ramaphosa said it was critical for the ruling party to prioritise unity over anything else.

“In KwaZulu-Natal the immediate task is to unite the ANC.

“If KwaZulu-Natal is not united, then the entire ANC across the country will be weakened,” he said.

This comes after several members of the influential ANC national executive committee (NEC) had indicated they would push for Zuma to be recalled in its meeting in East London on Wednesday.

However, Zuma supporters in KZN have raised fears that removing him before his end of his term in 2019 would deepen divisions within the party.

A group of traditional leaders in the province last week marched in Durban in what many viewed as a show of support for Zuma.

Ramaphosa and his colleagues in the top six leadership structure had been in the province since Sunday. The visit is part of an effort to mend fences following the divisive party leadership race, which saw Ramaphosa defeat Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

“The leadership that emerged at that conference is a unity leadership which, together with all members of the ANC, will strive to make the party stronger,” Ramaphosa said on Monday.

While Ramaphosa has steered away from the debate around Zuma’s recall, those close to the new ANC leadership said Ramaphosa and the top leadership might block attempts to remove Zuma on Wednesday.

“We know that there are those NEC members who want to use the meeting to table a motion of no confidence in Zuma,” said a senior ANC NEC source.

“From what I’m observing, I don’t see the motion reaching a stage where people would vote. I see the argument that removing Zuma would further divide the ANC winning the day.”

Ramaphosa and the top six on Monday laid wreaths at the grave or former ANC president Albert Luthuli in Groutville.

The NEC member said Ramaphosa would argue in favour of getting the ANC to rather micro-manage Zuma as opposed to removing the embattled President.

“One of the plans would be to demonstrate that the ANC new leadership, and not Zuma, was in charge of the government. Zuma will only be removed if he refuses to implement the NEC’s resolutions. His supporters had already been told about this and they don’t have any problems,” the NEC member said.

Ramaphosa is under pressure to unite the ANC, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal, ahead of the 2019 national elections.

As part of the drive for unity, Ramaphosa and appeared at Monday’s event with Dlamini-Zuma.

Other ANC leaders from the province who had supported Dlamini-Zuma before the conference were also in attendance.

In spite of the fact that Dlamini-Zuma was not part of the formal ANC delegation, she was given a seat next to party national chairperson, Gwede Mantashe. Ramaphosa joined them in the front row.

The top six also resolved to recognise the PEC as a legitimate party structure.

This is despite the fact that the Pietermaritzburg High Court had ruled that the PEC was elected at an illegitimate provincial conference.

“The fact of the matter is that the court judgment has been appealed.

“It is a legitimate ANC structure until such a time that the NEC decides otherwise,” ANC deputy president David Mabuza said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  anc

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