ZUMA BACKS UNITY

‘Power-shar­ing a prac­ti­cal pro­posal’

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - BHEKI MBAN­JWA, BONGANI HANS, KHAYA KOKO AND SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI

PRES­I­DENT Ja­cob Zuma has thrown his weight be­hind a pro­posed power-shar­ing deal be­tween Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa.

But his sup­port­ers are di­vided on the mat­ter. At the ANC na­tional pol­icy con­fer­ence in Nas­rec, Soweto, KZN chair­per­son Sihle Zikalala pro­posed a com­pro­mise deal that would see ei­ther of the two pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates be­com­ing deputy pres­i­dent if he or she loses to the other in the race for the top spot.

This, Zikalala be­lieves, would pre­vent a blood­bath and a pos­si­ble split af­ter the party’s elec­tive con­fer­ence in De­cem­ber. The Star has re­li­ably learnt that, in one of the closed com­mis­sions, Zuma ex­pressed sup­port for the ar­range­ment, as the ba­sis for try­ing to mend the fissures within the party that arise out of con­tes­ta­tion.

“In our com­mis­sion, it was only Zikalala and Zuma who ar­tic­u­lated it. Other peo­ple just ig­nored it. It’s a new pro­posal, which we ob­vi­ously need to con­sult widely on,” said a source, who asked to re­main anony­mous.

An­other source con­firmed Zuma’s sup­port for the pro­posed ar­range­ment. “He (Zuma) said peo­ple don’t sleep these days, spend­ing sleep­less nights lob­by­ing… He even said it would be good if it (the pro­posal) could be repli­cated at lower levels.”

How­ever, some of the in­flu­en­tial Zuma sup­port­ers don’t agree with the mooted ar­range­ment.

ANC Youth League (ANCYL) pres­i­dent Collen Maine said he felt the move would not pass the test of the ANC con­sti­tu­tion, which al­lows for ev­ery po­si­tion in the top six to be con­tested.

“It means that if there are 10 can­di­dates, and the other one gets 12 votes and oth­ers each get seven votes, are we go­ing to have all of them as deputy pres­i­dents?” Maine asked.

The ANCYL sec­re­tary in KwaZu­luNatal, Than­dux­olo Sa­belo, said they stood by their view that Mpumalanga Pre­mier and ANC pro­vin­cial chair­per­son, David Mabuza, should be the next deputy pres­i­dent.

He said unit­ing the ANC should not be based on who gets elected to cer­tain po­si­tions. “If you are not elected in the ANC, the cul­ture of the ANC says you must then be able to sup­port the lead­er­ship that has been elected.

“Unity of the party must be the unity of pur­pose. You can­not be united by po­si­tions. We must be united by pro­grammes, which we are here to dis­cuss to­day,” he said.

How­ever, eThek­wini re­gion sec­re­tary Bheki Ntuli said the ANC’s big­gest re­gion was fully be­hind the pro­posal. “The sit­u­a­tion whereby we have our own top six and oth­ers have their own top six leads to break­aways af­ter con­fer­ences. We should have a sys­tem that would al­low the loser to be ac­com­mo­dated as the deputy pres­i­dent and the deputy sec­re­tary-gen­eral,” said Ntuli.

Mdu­miseni Ntuli, ANC chair­per­son in KZN, said the pro­pos­als were meant to de­stroy slate pol­i­tics. He agreed it would mean chang­ing the way vot­ing hap­pens.

A del­e­gate said some viewed the pro­posal as a sign that KZN “is pan­ick­ing and now they just want to se­cure NDZ’s (Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma’s) fu­ture”.

A mem­ber of the KZN pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee said the prov­ince had re­alised that, while it was pow­er­ful, it could not af­ford to be ar­ro­gant or over­state its in­flu­ence.

“Even when the small prov­inces come to us with pro­pos­als, we will en­gage with them and adopt those po­si­tions if it makes sense,” an­other source added.

ANC North­ern Cape chair­per­son Za­mani Saul also slammed the KZN pro­posal, as­sert­ing that the prov­ince was try­ing to achieve “lead­er­ship through ar­range­ment”. He added that his prov­ince still backs Ramaphosa “be­cause it is a mat­ter of prin­ci­ple” as, since 1956, “all pres­i­dents of the ANC had been deputy pres­i­dents be­fore”.

Eastern Cape sec­re­tary Os­car Mabuyane said he backed the pro­posal as “a prac­ti­cal pro­posal when we are con­fronted with slates”.

THEY might not still be around, but the spirit of the late ANC lead­ers like Nel­son Man­dela, Fa­tima Meer and Oliver Tambo are vis­i­ble around the party’s pol­icy con­fer­ence in Nas­rec.

Stat­ues of iconic lead­ers have been placed at the venue, and yes­ter­day, Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma walked through the ex­hi­bi­tion to ad­mire them and show re­spect.

The stat­ues are the brain­child of Tambo’s son Dali Tambo and are usu­ally ex­hib­ited at the Groen­kloof Na­tional Her­itage Mon­u­ment.

On day four of the con­fer­ence, Zuma said one of the im­por­tant is­sues they were wrestling with was the im­ple­men­ta­tion of poli­cies once the con­fer­ence was over.

“There is a very strong fo­cus on that be­cause we re­alise that on the im­ple­men­ta­tion side there are some hitches and we are try­ing to solve those is­sues,” Zuma said af­ter walk­ing through the ex­hi­bi­tion cen­tre and in­ter­act­ing with busi­ness peo­ple.

He said the con­fer­ence was “go­ing ab­so­lutely very well” and that he be­lieved the party would be able to rise above its cur­rent chal­lenges.

Zuma, who was flanked by ANC trea­surer-gen­eral Dr Zweli Mkhize, praised the vet­er­ans for their con­tri­bu­tion. He said: “The level of de­bate has gone up, es­pe­cially when you lis­ten to the stal­warts and the youth in par­tic­u­lar. The fact that this time we had more days is an op­por­tu­nity to have more de­bate so there is time to clar­ify all the things that need to be clar­i­fied.”

His com­ments came as a sur­prise fol­low­ing Zuma’s open­ing ad­dress on Fri­day, when he launched a scathing at­tack on the vet­er­ans. Dur­ing the speech he ac­cused the stal­warts of not re­spect­ing party branches and pro­ce­dures. This was ap­par­ently be­cause the vet­er­ans re­fused to be part of the two days set aside for a con­sul­ta­tive con­fer­ence; they said it was too short a time.

Zuma yes­ter­day praised del­e­gates for com­ing out in their num­bers and giv­ing pos­i­tive in­put. “The rec­om­men­da­tions there­fore for the na­tional con­fer­ence in De­cem­ber will take us very far.”

PIC­TURE: SIM­PHIWE MBOKAZI

AMANDLA!: ANC na­tional spokesper­son Zizi Kodwa em­u­lates a statue of Nel­son Man­dela dur­ing the fourth day of the ANC’s na­tional pol­icy con­fer­ence held at Nas­rec, Soweto.

BREAK: Mem­bers of the ANC sit­ting out­side the main con­fer­ence hall.

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