JOHANNESBURG, December 16 – African National Congress (ANC) members should unite and support the new party leadership which will emerge from its ongoing, highly-contested 54th national elective conference, outgoing party leader Jacob Zuma said on Saturday.
“We must all unite behind the leadership collective that will be elected here, regardless of our original preferences,” Zuma said in his political report presented to thousands of delegates in Johannesburg.
“At the end of the conference, the movement must be the winner and not individuals.”
He expressed gratitude to the party’s outgoing National Executive Committee and the National Working Committee of the party, in which he also served.
“Together we engaged with and handled difficult and sensitive matters. The NEC has proven to me that in the ANC, we can fundamentally differ on certain issues but still remain comrades,” said Zuma.
“Given our experiences, I am convinced that the ANC will sail through the current rough and stormy seas and ultimately emerge even stronger. Let me also thank the national officials. Having been a national official of the ANC for the past 26 years, I have not seen a team of national officials more active and hardworking than this outgoing top six.”
He also thanked the general ANC membership, and all branches, the provinces, regions and the other structures of the movement, including the leagues and alliance partners.
“It has been a real honour and privilege to lead this glorious movement,” said Zuma.
“I thank you all sincerely for the opportunity.”
South Africa’s media is being used to stoke the African National Congress’s infighting, outgoing party leader President Jacob Zuma told delegates on Saturday.
“”We should also be mindful of the fact that the media is an active participant, with vested interests rather than an impartial and fair observer on ANC organisational matters,” Zuma said during his address on the opening day of the party’s 54th national conference taking place in Nasrec, Johannesburg.
“The mobilisation of the media against the country and the ANC from Johannesburg to London, New York and Washington DC has gained momentum in recent months.”
The party needed to reflect on how to communicate in a climate where “forces hostile to the ANC control the means and platforms of communication”, he added.
Zuma said the use of the media was due to internal divisions and the pursuit of personal interests, with some ANC members actively using the media to fight personal battles against the ANC, “despite the fact that this damages the standing of the movement and the country internationally”.
Outgoing African National Congress (ANC) President Jacob Zuma on Saturday, said the ruling party’s continued survival is threatened by the existence of warring factions battling for control of the liberation movement.
“In all its manifestations, factionalism has become the biggest threat to the organisation. It is because of factionalism that we have seen the emergence of splinter groups over the past ten years which negatively affected our movement both quantitatively and qualitatively,” Zuma said addressing thousands of delegates on the first day of the 54th national elective conference at Nasrec in Johannesburg.
“Slate politics, another manifestation of factionalism, has also cost us many good and capable comrades in whom our movement has invested significantly.”
The outgoing president also lamented what he termed a growing trend of ill discipline amongst members of the party.
“Ill-discipline has also continued to afflict the ANC which has taken new forms in the recent past, bordering on members publicly challenging the authority of the organisation,” said Zuma.
“There have also been worse incidents of ill-discipline where members openly side with, and work with opposition parties and other formations that are hostile to the ANC, against positions adopted by the movement.”
He said the liberation movement needed to reaffirm its authority over individual members.
“There should be consequences for any member who acts and speaks contrary to the values, principles and political programme of the ANC,” said Zuma.
Disgruntled ANC members who have lodged court cases against the governing party came under fire from outgoing party leader President Jacob Zuma on Saturday.
Delivering his last political report as party leader, Zuma said the party needs to look at reigning in members who took it to court. His comments came in the wake of a string of damning judgements leading to the national conference.
“ANC members should use internal processes. Judges should not be asked to deal with ANC organisational processes and the direction of the movement ,” he said to a loud applause.
Those who disagreed with decisions ran to court at “a drop of a hat”, he added.
“This is gradually eroding our movement. We can’t begin to believe that courts are a solution to ANC problems…we must make it clear that whoever takes the ANC to court should understand that he has declared himself out of the ANC.”
Outgoing African National Congress president Jacob Zuma on Saturday decried the declining number of South Africans voting for the governing party.
“The outcome of the local government elections in 2016, which indicated a serious decline, were a stark reminder that our people are not happy with the state of the ANC. Substantial numbers of traditional ANC voters stayed away from the vote,” he told delegates at the ANC’s 54th national elective conference in Nasrec in Johannesburg.
“We lost three key metropolitan municipalities – Tshwane, Johannesburg, and the Nelson Mandela Bay, while we [now] run others through coalitions – Ekurhuleni and Rustenburg. Our research shows that our people are concerned with issues such as corruption, crime, and unemployment,” he said.
The ANC national executive committee (NEC) meeting after the 2016 local government elections attributed the loss in the key metros to “perceptions” in South African communities that the ANC is “soft on corruption, self-serving, and arrogant”, Zuma said.
Earlier, numerous religious leaders representing various faiths kicked off the elective conference with prayers for peace and unity within the governing party.
The interfaith prayers came soon after outgoing Zuma and his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa entered the huge plenary session area to officially start the highly anticipated conference.
Ramaphosa, and former African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, are the front runners in the heated race to replace Zuma, whose term is ending after 10 years as ANC president.
Divisions among delegates, drawn from branches across South Africa, were palpable on Saturday as they sang songs in support of either Ramaphosa or Dlamini-Zuma.
Zuma and Ramaphosa spent a few minutes with ANC veteran Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who had been received at the conference with loud cheers.
The quest for radical economic transformation is being opposed as it challenges the economic status qou, outgoing African National Congress (ANC) President Jacob Zuma said on Saturday.
“It is opposed because it challenges the current status qou. It seeks to transform the economy…we have to act decisively,” he told ANC delegates at the ruling party’s elective national conference in Nasrec, Johannesburg, as he delivered his political report.
Regarding land, Zuma said it should be redistributed accordingly.
“We must redistribute land in an equitable manner while ensuring its productivity and food security. The ANC has made strides in the last five years through implementing policy and doing away with willing-buyer-willing-seller system.”
A land valuer general’s office has been established and two land audits carried out during his tenure, he added.