Republic of South Africa President Jacob Zuma with Republic of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe at their meeting in Harare on August 15, 2012. The two leaders discussed the Global Political Agreement., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Zuma warns against foreign interference
Tuesday, 11 December 2012 00:00
JOHANNESBURG — South African President Jacob Zuma has warned that foreign interest groups may “capture” the ruling African National Congress’ upcoming elective conference to serve their own interests.
Once these forces had captured the ANC, they would control South Africa and use its strategic importance as a gateway to the continent, Zuma told a forum held over the weekend at the University of Zululand in Kwa-Zulu Natal Province.
The forum was attended by KwaZulu-Natal delegates who would participate in the ANC’s 53rd conference scheduled for December 16 to 20 in Mangaung, also known as Bloemfontein, according to the local Mercury newspaper.
Zuma described the congress as a “watershed” conference, saying that given the significance of the conference, it was important for delegates to remain focused to ensure they were not led astray.
He said foreign countries could no longer control Africa through administrators.
“You need a country which has influence and a big organised economy. So, South Africa has been identified as that country. Then if South Africa is an important country to control, you have to control the ANC. You therefore need a leader in the ANC who can be controlled. That is why there is so much interest in leadership,” Zuma said without elaboration.
The ANC conference will elect the party’s leadership, including its president for the next five years. Given the ANC’s electoral dominance, elected ANC president will be mandated to be the country’s next president in the 2014 national elections.
Zuma said the ANC needed to ask itself if the party was at a crossroads.
He warned that the party was now facing new challenges and it needed to adapt to these or it would perish.
“Being an ANC member means service to the people. ANC members were prepared to sacrifice their lives for the liberation of this country. That is what we are known for,” Zuma said.
“If you lead the ANC you do not lead ANC members, you are led by the members who elected you.
“You cannot become big-headed as a leader. You are there to serve,” he said.
Last week, Mozambican president and Sadc chairperson Armando Guebuza also lashed out at foreign critics for sowing seeds of dissent in his country by claiming its natural resources were only benefiting some.
“We speak today of natural resources everywhere which some say only enrich the few. Some say so out of a lack of information, but others do it out of malice,” said Armando Guebuza.
President Guebuza did not spell out whom he was accusing of being provocateurs but said, “there are countries that, because of this type of gossip, are pitting tribe against tribe, religion against religion.
“They are here to extract resources and then come here to say that the gap between rich and poor is widening.”
His unusually outspoken criticism came as Mozambique prepares to reap unprecedented capital inflows from vast coal and natural gas deposits.
President Guebuza lashed out at critics for creating instability in his country. The leader of the Renamo group of former rebels, Afonso Dhlakama is currently threatening to return the country to war unless the government agrees to negotiate over the distribution of the country’s wealth.
“All of this creates conflicts amongst us. It is a powerful weapon that aims to divide us and make us fight amongst ourselves while they meet us in seven star hotels,” said Guebuza.
President Mugabe has for many years castigated Western nations, who are also Africa’s former colonial masters, telling them to stop interfering in the internal matters of the continent.
— Xinhua/AFP/The Herald.