Zuma warns of war on corruption and factions
PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has called on ANC branches to guard against being used by lobby groups and warned of an intensification of the fight against corruption and factionalism within the movement.
He also warned of moving swiftly in addressing the thorny issue of land reform and redistribution, and he welcomed progress made so far.
Zuma made the remarks during the ANC’s 105th birthday celebrations in Soweto yesterday, in which he delivered his last annual January 8 statement as ANC president.
He is expected to pass the baton to a new ANC leadership to be elected at a party conference in December.
The new leaders, said Zuma, “must demonstrate a desire and commitment to serve the people. They must have a proven track record and be able to unite, organise and inspire the masses to be their own liberators”.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and AU Commission chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma have shown interest in succeeding Zuma and already enjoy support from Cosatu, the SACP and the ANC leagues, respectively.
Yesterday Zuma called for the power of ANC branches not to be “undermined by slates and lobby groups”, saying the ANC’s power was firmly rooted in its branches.
“Branches therefore must not allow themselves to be stripped of that power. That will kill the organisation.”
Zuma also called on ANC members to be decisive and eradicate factionalism, gate-keeping, ill-discipline, the buying of members and the manipulation of internal democratic processes.
“All of us must fight against these evils. They are undermining our organisation. We cannot continue with these practices.”
Ramaphosa has also spoken out against social ills dogging the ANC, noting that the movement was “ridden with factions” and that party leaders presided over them.
Zuma commended the ANC government for putting in place programmes to fight the scourge of corruption, and called on the criminal justice system to fight the social ill wherever it reared its ugly head, including in the private sector.
He said the ruling party was dedicating 2017 to the longest-serving ANC president, Oliver Tambo, who would have turned 100 this year.
“In this year of OR Tambo we must build a caring, listening and responsive ANC. The ANC has heard the message that the people delivered during the August 2016 local government elections. We accept that we have made mistakes and shall correct these mistakes,” he said.
The party lost the three metros of Tshwane, Joburg and Nelson Mandela Bay during the watershed municipal elections, and its electoral support fell from 62 percent to 54 percent.
Zuma said all ANC councillors had signed performance and accountability agreements with the party, which were being enforced.
“The councillors are aware that they must be accessible to the communities. ANC municipalities must conduct regular surveys to gauge the levels of satisfaction among their communities.”
Zuma said land, housing, healthcare and education were among the “critical levers towards a better life and prosperity”.
“Our land reform and land redistribution policy has shown measurable success. However, too many of our people continue to suffer from the historic injustice perpetrated by the horrendous land dispossession.
“This year we shall begin to utilise the Expropriation of Land Act to pursue land reform and land redistribution with greater speed and urgency,” he said.
SA National Civic Organisation president Richard Mdakane called on the ANC to unite in order to better people’s lives, and said the country’s future lay in the party’s hands.
Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini said it was clear from Zuma’s address that it was possible to unite the ANC, the ruling alliance and the African people.
He said they would look at the ruling party to unite the workers and that the party should be forthright on pressing issues confronting Africa’s most industrialised nation.
SACP leader Blade Nzimande said they had noted progress brought by the ANC but more needed to be done to drive radical economic transformation.
He was also critical of factionalism within the ANC.