Nei­ther a Gupta nor a Ru­pert be

CityPress - - News - PADDY HARPER paddy.harper@city­press.co.za

ANC KwaZulu-Natal chair­per­son Sihle Zikalala has called on party mem­bers to “serve nei­ther white mi­nor­ity cap­i­tal nor the emerg­ing bour­geoisie” rep­re­sented by play­ers such as the Gupta fam­ily.

Zikalala, who made this call in his open­ing ad­dress to the ANC Youth League pro­vin­cial congress in Dur­ban on Fri­day night, wants the ANC’s suc­ces­sion bat­tle to be re­solved through greater “con­sen­sus”, and ac­cord­ing to cri­te­ria, rather than per­son­al­ity.

Zikalala’s call comes as the youth league in the prov­ince con­tin­ues to defy Luthuli House and the party’s na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee, and has pro­nounced for­mer African Union Com­mis­sion chair­per­son Nkosazana DlaminiZuma as their choice for ANC pres­i­dent.

In his ad­dress at the ANC Youth League congress, Zikalala said the ANC and its lead­er­ship, and in par­tic­u­lar Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma, have been un­der “con­stant at­tack” over state cap­ture by the Gupta fam­ily.

“The is­sue of the Gup­tas cap­tur­ing the state is just a con­test [be­tween an] emerg­ing bour­geoisie and the well-es­tab­lished bour­geoisie,” Zikalala said.

“The es­tab­lished [one] in the name of the Ru­perts, An­glo Amer­i­can and oth­ers are pro­tect­ing their ter­ri­tory [that is] be­ing en­tered by peo­ple like the Gup­tas. Ours is not to de­fend any of the mo­nop­o­lies, but to fight for the poor as the force of the left,” he said.

Zikalala, who last week­end pre­sented to the KwaZulu-Natal ANC branches a plan to choose lead­ers ac­cord­ing to set cri­te­ria, said this ap­proach should be ap­plied ahead of the elec­tive na­tional con­fer­ence in De­cem­ber.

The doc­u­ment, called “ANC po­lit­i­cal per­spec­tive to­wards the 54th Na­tional Con­fer­ence – our steps to the na­tional con­fer­ence are sig­nif­i­cant, which City Press has seen, will be made pub­lic in the next few weeks. The cri­te­ria in­clude:

Ide­o­log­i­cal clar­ity and the abil­ity to ar­tic­u­late strate­gic tasks; Prin­ci­pled and firm lead­er­ship; Com­mit­ment to rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion; and

A com­mit­ment to the re­la­tions with the Brics eco­nomic bloc.

In an in­ter­view, Zikalala told City Press his in­ter­ven­tion was aimed at try­ing to head off an­other di­vi­sive con­fer­ence, which would cause yet an­other split in the ANC.

“We must dis­abuse our­selves of the ten­dency of fo­cus­ing on the lead­er­ship at the ex­pense of the rev­o­lu­tion, as if the lead­er­ship is the defin­ing fea­ture,” he said.

Zikalala said the youth league and other ANC com­po­nents that had pro­nounced on the lead­er­ship were wrong.

“Ours is to say ‘stop pro­nounc­ing names and fol­low the po­lit­i­cal ap­proach. Dis­cuss and al­low a space for in­ter­nal dis­cus­sion.’ Once we go through our in­ter­nal dis­cus­sion, we will be able to emerge with a lead­er­ship that will be em­braced by all mem­bers,” he said.

Zikalala said elec­tions in the ANC should not cause di­vi­sions.

“Even if there is con­tes­ta­tion, we should en­gage in a way that will help us […] to reach a con­sen­sus.”

He said ways needed to be found to bring es­tranged party mem­bers back into the ANC fold. Zikalala said he was reach­ing out to ANC lead­ers, in­clud­ing for­mer pro­vin­cial chair­per­son Senzo Mchunu.

Mean­while, branches sup­port­ing Mchunu have gone to the high court to have the re­sult of the Novem­ber 2015 pro­vin­cial con­fer­ence an­nulled. On Wednes­day, the Pi­eter­mar­itzburg High Court will hear an in­ter­locu­tory ap­pli­ca­tion by the ANC con­cern­ing doc­u­men­ta­tion in the case.

“We are try­ing our best so that they find par­tic­i­pa­tion in the struc­tures of the ANC,” he said. “We ap­pre­ci­ate the point that we can­not be talk­ing unity while there are ele­ments of divi­sion.”

Zikalala said, how­ever, that he was ready to de­fend him­self in court.

“The peo­ple who can an­swer some of these is­sues are two – my­self and Senzo.

“From where I sit, there is not a sin­gle is­sue that can­not be de­fended,” he told the ANC Youth League gath­er­ing.

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