SOUTH AFRICA: Life very difficult outside African National Congress, Zuma says

AFRICA POLITICS

(SOUTH AFRICA) As the battle for the control of the African National Congress (ANC) hots up, President Jacob Zuma has hit out at those who have started lobbying for the change of leadership in the ruling party, saying their actions were a sign that they lacked political understanding.

South Africa's president Jacob Zuma

This was believed to be a veiled attack on his chief rival, Julius Malema, the suspended ANC Youth League president who is leading the lobby, openly campaigning for Zuma’s removal as ANC leader at the party’s December conference in Mangaung.

Zuma said those who had started lobbying for positions were putting the cart before the horse because the party was yet to hold its policy conference.

“You first start with drawing up policies, programmes and resolutions and only then can you decide on who would be the best leader to implement those policies. Because if you start by selecting a leader you might find a situation where that person is unable to implement those resolutions,” Zuma said.

He was speaking last night at an ANC centenary gala dinner in Richards Bay.

Without mentioning any names, Zuma said the African National Congress needed to come down hard on ill-disciplined members, saying the party has so far been too tolerant on this.

He said those who hurled insults at public platforms in the name of the ANC also displayed a lack of political education.

“We (the ANC) have been far too merciful when it comes to ill-discipline. But now enough is enough… When members stray, we should act there and then and not wait for another day.” he said to thunderous applause from the about 4 000 ANC members.

He said the ANC had identified respect, discipline and unity as its “supreme values”.

Zuma said those who were dividing the ANC were not helping its cause.

He made the comments just four days before Malema was expected to appear before the party’s national disciplinary committee of appeals (NDCA), where he would be seeking to overturn his expulsion from the party.

He warned that those who defied the ANC would find that life was unkind to them once they were out of the organisation.

“When the ancestors have turned against you and you are out of the ANC, life becomes very difficult. Even the people who used to greet you in the streets will not recognise you once you are outside the ANC.”

Zuma warned that members should be able to tolerate dissenting views within the ANC, whose members, he said, included the “most influential thinkers, talented individuals within the working class and middle class and also sections of the capitalist class, traditional leaders and religious leaders”.

“As a member you should be able to harmonise all the divergent views within the movement and not only push hard for your own views above everything else.”

Zuma further warned that the behaviour by some members risked turning potential members away from the party.

He said the African National Congress was not a one-man party, but had many capable and well-respected leaders.

“The ANC has developed its leaders academically and politically to be a force of progressive thought in our country.”

Zuma was recently accused by Malema of being a dictator.

The comments earned Malema a suspension from the ANC which effectively banned him from participating in any activity of the ANC and of speaking about the party in public.

Zuma and Malema had earlier attended Zion Christian Church’s St Engenas church service at Moria, outside Polokwane, in the latter’s home province of Limpopo. Neither spoke publicly.

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Source: Daily News, SA

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