The ANC’s leagues and structures must play by the rules of the party’s leadership race, ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize yesterday told The New Age.
Mkhize responded to a slate for the ANC’s hotly contested December elective conference, purportedly from Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s camp, which punted him for the position of ANC deputy president.
He said that the ANC’s succession debate should not be tainted by the jostling for positions.
“The process must be a unifying process and ANC members must stick to the rules. It should not be allowed to foster divisions and breach the values and ethics of the organisation,” Mkhize said.
He also said that the ANC’s process of electing new leaders should be treated with the care it deserved lest it deepened already fragile relations in the party.
“The selection of leaders usually generates a lot of excitement and it becomes a very interesting time.
“It must be managed delicately so that it strengthens and unifies the ANC.”
Mkhize’s comments come against the background of the ANC’s succession debate having shifted into higher gear.
While the party has not officially opened the debate, its leagues and alliance partners have already publicly endorsed their preferred candidate to take over the reins of the ANC.
Mkhize, making reference to the ANC’s efforts in keeping a lid on the party’s leadership discussion, said that while the debate had not been opened, principles around the quality of leadership should be the overarching theme guiding any debate.
“Nominations have not yet been opened. The debate is only open for us to discuss the qualities and characteristics of leaders.
“We are discouraging our members from dealing with names.
“The NEC said ‘let’s discuss and agree on the principles and thereafter we’ll be able to evaluate leaders on the basis of principles’.”
Mkhize took a strong stance against factionalism around the processes of electing ANC leaders.
“Any ANC leader creating factionalism must be reported at the national level,” he said.
Mkhize, switching focus to the turbulent year in which the ANC lost control of the country’s key metros, conceded that the party should shoulder the blame for its misfortunes.
“The issues of factionalism, those issues need to be outlawed and the ANC has embarked on programmes to deal with those issues.
“Unemployment linked to the performance of the economy causes us a lot of setbacks and contributed to the negative mood of the country,” he said.
On the issue of corruption, President Jacob Zuma on Sunday at the ANC’s 105th anniversary celebration called for visible action from the government to deal with the problem of corruption.
Mkhize also said the ANC would work with the party stalwarts and veterans who signed the For the Sake of our Future document on their push for a national consultative conference to help heal divisions in the party.
“We agreed on a time for a consultative conference. The first two days of the ANC policy conference will be adequate. We should be able to find each other,” he said.