Pres­i­den­tial hope­fuls hit the road

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SMS us on 35697 us­ing the key­word KZN and tell us what you think. Please in­clude your name and prov­ince. SMSes cost R1.50 Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa yes­ter­day urged ANC branch mem­bers to re­claim the space now oc­cu­pied by civil so­ci­ety and op­po­si­tion par­ties and lead the strug­gle against cor­rup­tion and state cap­ture.

Ramaphosa and other ANC lead­ers, in­clud­ing Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, have been spend­ing most of their week­ends criss­cross­ing the country ad­dress­ing cadre fo­rums, me­mo­rial lec­tures and other events, in­clud­ing Women’s Day events this month, as they gar­ner sup­port for their pres­i­den­tial am­bi­tions.

De­liv­er­ing a lec­ture on the late ANC icon Oliver Tambo in Braam­fis­cher in Soweto yes­ter­day, pres­i­den­tial hope­ful Ramaphosa said “branches need to be lead­ing the way in restor­ing the val­ues and af­firm­ing the in­tegrity of the move­ment”.

The fight against state cap­ture and cor­rup­tion has been led mainly by civil so­ci­ety move­ments and op­po­si­tion par­ties who have staged sev­eral mass protests coun­try­wide in a bid to force Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma to re­sign. The ANC has dis­missed the ex­ter­nal crit­i­cism, say­ing that it was driven by racism and a hid­den regime change agenda to top­ple the party.

“Many of the chal­lenges we face today do not come from the mem­ber­ship or branches. Most of them come from the lead­er­ship and where there is fail­ure of lead­er­ship the branches need to lead,” he told a hall full of ANC mem­bers and sup­port­ers from the sur­round­ing town­ships of Mz­imh­lope, Dob­sonville, Protea, Braam­fis­cher, Snake Park and Tshep­isong. The ar­eas con­sti­tute zone 7 of the party’s Johannesburg re­gion.

Gaut­eng ANC sec­re­tary Hope Papo and Johannesburg re­gional sec­re­tary Dada Morero were among those who ac­com­pa­nied Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa said the ANC should at ev­ery level, from branches to the top lead­er­ship, seek to re­build the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the party and the peo­ple on the ground. “We need to be draw­ing peo­ple to­wards us and not driv­ing them away. We need to lis­ten to peo­ple’s con­cerns, not dis­miss them,” he said.

“We need to lis­ten to our crit­ics, ac­cept where they are right, en­gage them and seek to win them over. We must seek to unite and we must seek to be in­clu­sive.”

“The ANC can­not be stub­born and hard-headed. Our peo­ple are smart and when they see some­thing wrong, it means it is wrong. When they see that our re­sources are be­ing stolen they are not wrong,” said Ramaphosa.

In Parys, Free State, News24 re­ported that DlaminiZuma cau­tioned against us­ing mis­takes made in the party to turn against the party, in ref­er­ence to ANC MPs sup­port­ing an op­po­si­tion mo­tion. “No matter what, we can­not be so angry with the ANC that we walk away from it,” Dlamini-Zuma said.

The pres­i­den­tial hope­ful ad­mit­ted that there were dif­fi­cul­ties in the move­ment but said they were noth­ing new. “Mis­takes will al­ways be made. No per­son can say they have not made mis­takes. The ques­tion is how we deal with th­ese mis­takes,” she said.

Speak­ing on the side­lines of an event in KwaZulu-Na­tal where he gave an ad­dress on “eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion at this stage of the na­tional demo­cratic revolution”, pres­i­den­tial hope­ful and Min­is­ter in the Pres­i­dency Jeff Radebe said MPs who voted with the op­po­si­tion in the mo­tion of no con­fi­dence must out them­selves. Lead­ers in the Um­doni area on the South Coast of KwaZulu-Na­tal – where Radebe once served as chair­per­son – said once the ANC of­fi­cially opens nom­i­na­tions for the pres­i­dency, they would throw their weight be­hind their former chair­per­son. Though not for­mally ac­cept­ing the nomination, Radebe said he had never shied away from a de­ploy­ment, “whether big or small”.

On the mo­tion of no con­fi­dence which was de­bated in the Na­tional Assem­bly this week and voted for via se­cret bal­lot, Radebe said it was con­cern­ing that some within the ANC had bro­ken ranks and voted with op­po­si­tion par­ties. “It is very dif­fi­cult to know who did it, of course, be­cause the Speaker de­cided on a se­cret bal­lot, so I will not want to en­cour­age a sort of witch-hunt to es­tab­lish that, but those who have done so should have the courage of their con­vic­tions to say so,” he said.

“It is con­cern­ing. I don’t have the ex­act fig­ures of ANC MPs who were present in Par­lia­ment that day, but the ANC’s po­si­tion, which was en­dorsed by the NEC [na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee], is very clear. You can never vote for other po­lit­i­cal par­ties, es­pe­cially on a matter where they sought to ac­tu­ally top­ple the govern­ment of the ANC. I my­self can never as­so­ciate with such an ini­tia­tive,” he said.

On whether or not those MPs should re­sign, Radebe said he could not com­ment given his po­si­tion as chair­per­son of the ANC’s na­tional dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tee (NDC). “I can just state a gen­eral prin­ci­ple that as a loyal mem­ber of the ANC be­ing sent to Par­lia­ment by the ANC, I can­not, for the life of me, even imag­ine how I can join forces with the DA to top­ple my own govern­ment.

“That sec­tion un­der which the vote of no con­fi­dence was moved by the DA, if that mo­tion had suc­ceeded, it would have meant that the pres­i­dent and the en­tire Cab­i­net would have had to re­sign; that would have been the im­pli­ca­tion. But as I said, as the chair of the NDC I can­not prof­fer an opin­ion.”

He con­firmed that, at this stage, no cases re­gard­ing the mo­tion of no con­fi­dence had been brought be­fore the dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tee.

Cyril Ramaphosa

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

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