Stal­wart speaks on Zuma and fel­low vet­er­ans

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - BON­GANI HANS AND KHAYA KOKO

ANC vet­eran Sindiso Mfenyana says events in the ANC lead­er­ship have proved that for­mer pres­i­dent Thabo Mbeki was cor­rect when he said Ja­cob Zuma was not the right per­son to lead the party and the coun­try.

But he said Mbeki was wrong to uni­lat­er­ally fire Zuma with­out con­sult­ing the peo­ple.

“He knew cer­tain things about Zuma, which made him feel that (Zuma was not suit­able to be pres­i­dent).

“He said Zuma’s de­fi­cien­cies as a leader had com­pro­mised the rep­u­ta­tion of the ANC.

“The ANC was re­spected be­cause peo­ple knew that the lead­ers were good par­ents and up­stand­ing mem­bers of so­ci­ety,” said Mfenyana.

Mfenyana also aimed some harsh words at fel­low party vet­er­ans. He said it was a se­ri­ous mis­take for them to have boy­cotted the ANC’s na­tional pol­icy con­fer­ence at the Nas­rec Expo Cen­tre in Soweto.

Mfenyana, 77, told The Star that it would have been bet­ter for the vet­er­ans “to come here to put their case rather than just stay away”.

Mfenyana was a close ally of for­mer ANC pres­i­dents Nel­son Man­dela and Oliver Tambo.

“To tell you the truth, the vet­er­ans made a mis­take by not be­ing here. If the lead­er­ship of­fers us this op­por­tu­nity, let us meet dur­ing this oc­ca­sion. I would ex­pect them to re­act in a pos­i­tive way be­cause the lead­er­ship of the ANC al­ways lis­tens,” he said.

The vet­er­ans had re­quested a con­sul­ta­tive con­fer­ence be­fore the ANC held its pol­icy con­fer­ence – to en­gage the lead­er­ship about prob­lems fac­ing the party.

How­ever, the lead­er­ship re­jected the re­quest, and in­stead of­fered the first two­days of the con­fer­ence to be used for self-re­flect­ing.

This, in turn, was re­jected by the vet­er­ans.

Yes­ter­day, Mfenyana launched his book on his role in the ANC Strug­gle against apartheid, ti­tled Walk­ing with Gi­ants: Life and Times of an ANC Vet­eran.

The vet­er­ans have said they will hold their own con­sul­ta­tive con­fer­ence in Septem­ber.

In his open­ing ad­dress at the con­fer­ence, Zuma crit­i­cised the vet­er­ans for re­ject­ing the self-re­flec­tion meet­ing.

Mfenyana said he hoped the vet­er­ans would use their con­fer­ence to re­cover the op­por­tu­nity they had lost by shun­ning this week’s con­fer­ence.

“They should per­suade the ANC lead­er­ship to agree to sit with them and talk.”

He added that al­le­ga­tions of state cap­ture in­volv­ing Zuma’s busi­ness friends, the Gup­tas, were shock­ing.

“I am to­tally op­posed to at­tempts by who­ever to take over our elected gov­ern­ment,” he said.

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