Pretoria- As the ANC prepares to elect a new leader when President Jacob Zuma steps down, Secretary General Gwede Mantashe says party members should be focusing on principles rather than throwing around names.
"We have agreed on the succession that let's go out to the regions and... talk principles first before we talk names, because when you talk names you create the stampede that I always talk about," he told reporters in Pretoria.
"Everybody who raises their hand gets into the hat instead of actually having principles where you measure every candidate against [every other]."
Mantashe was commenting while the party was having its ordinary NEC meeting. The meeting follows one with veterans to discuss the state of the organisation. He said they shared the same ideas with the veterans.
"That is the route we are taking and we think it's the right route. We agreed with the veterans that it is the correct route to follow," he said.
Urgent solutions needed
Mantashe further indicated that the meeting with the veterans was productive. The older ANC members, which include Rivonia triallists Ahmed Kathrada, Andrew Mlangeni, and Denis Goldberg as well as ministers and heads of missions, want organisational renewal.
They, however, differ on whether this should include the removal of party president Jacob Zuma and his senior officials. Veterans said the situation facing the 104-year-old liberation movement needed urgent solutions.
"The meeting with the veterans went very well and even the outcomes of the meeting are now input into the NEC. It is part of the report of the NWC that between us and the veterans we are agreeing on going on an all-inclusive vigorous conference, an all-inclusive MKMVA conference and ultimately go to the policy conference," he said.
Mantashe added that the agreement reached with the veterans would see the next party policy conference being used as the consultative conference they were calling for. He said it was suggested that the first two days be used to look into the health of the organisation broadly then proceed to policy issues.
"What we want to demystify is the name. Rather than the name, we focus on the ideas, but involve everybody. Think very carefully about what we can do to accelerate our movement out of the crisis," he said.