Neither a Gupta nor a Rupert be
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.