Lamola Q&A: Why Kgalema?

The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) was the first national ANC structure to nominate leaders for Mangaung. Sabelo Ndlangisa spoke to ANC Youth League leader Ronald Lamola about its choices

Q: Why did you choose Kgalema Motlanthe over Jacob Zuma?
A: Kgalema remained a principled leader of the ANC. He sticks to the policies and principles of the ANC, and the Constitution of the country.

He even called us to order in Nkowankowa (an ANCYL rally), even though there was the perception that we are supporting him. But it didn’t matter to him.

If you are wrong, you are wrong. The decisions of the organisation must be adhered to. We need a president of Kgalema’s calibre.

Q: There’s a view that Zuma can’t achieve his goals in one term, don’t you think somehow there is merit to that argument?
A: It depends on the circumstances. From where we stand, we have observed that in terms of the Polokwane resolutions a lot of resolutions were taken regarding land, that the “willing buyer, willing seller” (approach) was not working ... and how these should be addressed.

The future of the nation must be clear, there must be no uncertainty about it. We seem to be limping from one disaster to the other. It doesn’t augur well for the future of the ANC.

Q: What about plans such as the New Growth Path and the National Development Plan that have been crafted under Zuma?
A: We think the priority is the distribution of wealth. That’s what should be done now ... Any economic debate that doesn’t change the Constitution is a cosmetic exercise.

Q: Can you cite examples of the disasters you are talking about?
A: At some stage, there was clear disregard for the Constitution of the country. The attempt to appoint the chief justice which was stopped by the Constitutional Court. ... (Another) recent (example) being (the appointment of) the head of the National Prosecutions Authority.

One of the biggest disasters that have happened since democracy was Marikana which, in my view, was an avoidable situation.

There should be public accountability and clarity in terms of what is happening in Nkandla and who is building, at what cost.

Q: Others might argue that Motlanthe has been part of the crises you are describing
A: I have heard that argument. I don’t think it has merit. In the Constitution of the ANC the president is assigned certain responsibilities and the deputy president is delegated responsibilities by the president. At some stage there is individual accountability ... This issue of collective leadership is being abused by those who are campaigning for a second term.

Q: Why Mathews Phosa, and not Tokyo Sexwale for deputy president?
A: You will remember there was rigorous voting. Our structures voted on who they preferred to be deputy president.

Mathews emerged as the person our structures prefer ... He is currently an ANC (top six) official. That’s what made comrades to be convinced that if he continues, he will preserve that memory.

Q: There were perceptions that the “forces of change” were at loggerheads over the two leaders. How true is that?
A: I am not aware. We are also not “forces of change”. We are the ANC Youth League.

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