'They did not implement transformation and now they call for RET': Zikalala blasts ANC leaders

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  • ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Sihle Zikalala has called out former party leaders who punt RET and sought to interfere in regional conferences. 
  • Zikalala opened the ANC eThekwini conference on Saturday following a four-hour delay. 
  • He called out ANC factionalism where some party members were "members of members".

ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Sihle Zikalala has lashed out at former party leaders who punt radical economic transformation, saying they did not implement transformation when they were in office and have now factionalised party policy. 

Opening the ANC's eThekwini regional conference in Durban on Saturday, Zikalala condemned the notion that an ANC policy of radical economic transformation (RET) was factionalised in the party.

"Programmes of the organisation are not programmes of factions. There are those who were in government before, they did less to implement RET, but today they call themselves a group of RET. They are factionalising programmes of the ANC but have been nowhere in implementing RET."

He called out former party leaders who did not implement transformation during their terms in office.

"You cannot be deployed by the same movement to advance its policies then you keep quiet, and you do not implement policies. Then when you are out, you say no; you stand for transformation. You should have implemented transformation."

Zikalala said RET should not divide the organisation but was meant to deal with the racialised ownership of the economy.

READ | ANC eThekwini conference off to a delayed start amid youth league dispute over delegates

He also lambasted a trend in the party where members were more loyal to factions than they were to the party.

"We have allowed ourselves to be more loyal to faction than the ANC."

Zikalala said radical economic transformation should not divide the party.

The conference delegates were split between allegiances to former mayor Zandile Gumede and current eThekwini speaker Thabani Nyawose. Gumede's supporters are seen to be part of the RET faction, while Nyawose's supporters are part of the "renewal" faction loyal to incumbent ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa.

Zikalala's address came more than four hours after the conference was meant to begin.

This after delegates loyal to one candidate for chairperson of the region, Zandile Gumede, delayed their entrance while a dispute over delegates of the ANC Youth League ensued.

The provincial ANC leader condemned members who sought to hold the party at ransom in addressing the delay. 

An outspoken Zikalala called out ANC leaders from its national leadership who meddled in regional conferences, attempting to influence its outcome.

"Let regions elect leaders without our interference as national and provincial leaders."

Zikalala said:
We must deal with tendencies where comrades in high positions go around and hold meetings with structures outside of the organisational framework.

His comments came as ANC leaders, including former ministers Zweli Mkhize and Bathabile Dlamini, as well as suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule were seen addressing branch delegates to the ANC eThekwini conference. 

When Zikalala condemned ANC factions, some delegates heckled him, saying he too belonged to a faction.

He also questioned whether the ANC was truly building a non-racial society.

Before Zikalala addressed the conference, convenor Kwazi Mshengu cautioned delegates from singing divisive songs in support of either faction.

Nominations for new leaders of the ANC's largest region are expected to take place later on Saturday, while the outcome is expected on Sunday.

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