Rot-infested ANC Needs to be Liberated – Mbeki
President Jacob Zuma should resign immediately, the ANC’s veterans and some of its current leaders resolved on Sunday, blaming him for the “rot” in the governing party, South Africa’s Business Live reports.
The party has been captured by a dominant faction, which was not the ANC in terms of its values and what it does from day-to-day, former president Thabo Mbeki said at the veterans’ three-day national consultative conference at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg.
The gathering — from which the ANC leadership distanced itself — drew two former presidents (Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe), party stalwarts, national executive committee members, cabinet ministers and representatives of the party’s alliance partners and civil society.
The conference was aimed at “saving” the ANC at a time when the party’s electoral fortunes and moral grip on society are dwindling rapidly.
Mbeki, who has largely steered clear of internal ANC politics since he was recalled by the party as president, said the ANC national executive committee had done itself a “disservice” by distancing itself from the gathering. The ANC’s top leaders did not attend the national consultative conference, despite the veterans lobbying the party for months to participate. However, there were several national executive committee members in attendance including Derek Hanekom, Lindiwe Sisulu, Bheki Cele, Pravin Gordhan and Blade Nzimande.
The decision not to attend and to distance the party from the conference was not taken by the ANC’s national executive committee, but the party’s top six leaders.
Mbeki said the conference was dealing with the “rot which has infested” the ANC.
“I think what ought to come out of here [the conference] is something which says to the 50-million South Africans plus that there is a body of people in our country, important people, in whose hands resides the gift of hope.
“So that we indeed say to the people the age of hopelessness is over,” he said to loud applause from delegates.
Mbeki said, in a veiled reference to Zuma, that the problems in the ANC could not be blamed on one or two people.
He called on those attending the consultative conference to take its outcomes back to their ANC branches and provincial structures to communicate them to members.
The national consultative conference resolved that Zuma resign with immediate effect because “he has let the ANC, our people and the country down”.
The veterans acknowledged their failure to address the problems timeously, which had contributed to the reputational damage to the ANC and the political and moral crisis facing the party and the country.
Among the discussions over the three days was the possibility of a referendum to decide whether Zuma should step aside. However, this proposal did not make it into the declaration at the end of the conference.
The veterans called on the ANC to elect its integrity and disciplinary committees directly so that the bodies could be free from interference and could be independent.
The declaration also called for electoral reform to allow the president of the republic to be elected directly.
They called for a free and fair election of a new ANC leadership in December, citing concern that the gathering might collapse or delegates bought by people wanting to influence the outcome.
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