Monday, June 25, 2012

South African President Zuma Lashes VP Kgalema Over Transition Document Critique

Zuma lashes Kgalema

24 Jun 2012 20:42
Matuma Letsoalo
South African Mail & Guardian

President Jacob Zuma has launched a veiled attack on Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe for questioning the second transition.

Addressing the closing session of the Free State ANC’s provincial conference Zuma gave his blessing to the disputed conference despite allegations of irregularities relating to the auditing of delegates.

Senior ANC provincial leaders and the ANC Youth League provincial leadership boycotted the conference which saw Free State Premier Ace Magashule controversially re-elected as ANC chairperson.

With less than six months before the ANC holds its elective conference in Mangaung in December, Zuma, who is facing a serious revolt from within the organisation is desperately seeking support from ANC provincial structures for his second term as ANC president.

The youth league and other ANC structures, including Limpopo, Gauteng, North West, Northern Cape, Western Cape and a large portion of Eastern Cape, are pushing for Motlanthe to replace him.

Speaking at the Harold Wolpe lecture in the Eastern Cape last week, Motlanthe criticised the second transition document, saying it was steeped in the SACP’s Marxist jargon and failed to convey what the ANC wanted to achieve as it grappled with underdevelopment.

Direct attack on Zuma

This was seen by many in the ANC as a direct attack on Zuma, who has been championing the idea of a second transition over the past few weeks.

The majority of ANC provinces, with the exception of KwaZulu Natal, Mpumalanga and Free State, have also rejected the second transition document – which is expected to dominate discussions at the ANC policy conference this week.

In what was a clear response to Motlanthe’s criticism, Zuma lashed out at his deputy for his public critique of the document. Zuma has been using the second transition discussion document as a campaign ticket for his second term.

On Sunday Zuma said: “It is important to understand how the ANC works. The ANC produces documents first and they are discussed by working committees. Once they (the documents) are looked at by the national executive committee they are sent to branches.

“This is what we did. Comrades at leadership level had the opportunity to see them and the time to look at it, not once but three times. The NEC discussed it three times. It is inconceivable for a member of the NEC to say he is not aware of it”.

Zuma said while there was some progress in terms of transformation that the ANC needed to shift into the “second transition” to speed up job creation and service delivery or risk ending up like other African countries who had gained their liberation “but did not know what to do with it”.

Review of the Constitution

“If we don’t talk about the second transition I don’t know how we are going to face these (unemployment and the growing inequalities in the country) challenges… We need a second transition because we can’t continue with the first,” said Zuma.

Zuma hinted that the second transition may include a review of the Constitution.

“Ours was a negotiated settlement. People forget this”.

Borrowing from one of Malema’s memorable quotes Zuma said: “There were sunset clauses but no sunrise clauses (in the constitution)”.

He said: “The ANC must discuss this to help people who are suffering to understand. It is us who must bring this discussion. I do not think we must be loved by people to do that. There will be opposition all the time. That is the way of life. That’s why I am saying let’s occupy the space,” he said.

A confident Zuma then stated: “The time has come to do what must be done for our country,(and) not to make a few individuals happy.”

“Those who say second transition is not right, they must produce an alternative.”

Zuma lambasted Motlanthe for his remarks that ANC leaders should avoid spending more time praising past ANC leaders instead of articulating the vision of the current leadership to take the country forward.

“We took a decision to remember our successes in 2012 (ANC centenary celebration). It is not as if the ANC never had challenges. Some challenges made other political parties perish. The ANC did not perish.”

He said the “celebration was important to all of us” and that citizens were aware that “it was the ANC that liberated us”.

“These matters that must be celebrated by us. We are celebrating those leaders who succeeded against the odds. We celebrate the fact that we got freedom in 1994,” said Zuma.

Buoyed by the re-election of his ally – Magashule, Zuma was in a full-blown campaign mode, also launched a blistering attack on Malema, suggesting Malema was never a real ANC member because he insulted elders.

“The ANC established the ANC Youth League not the other way around. This is in the constitution of the ANC. The class of 1944 which included Anton Lembede, OR Tambo and Nelson Mandela understood this very well. They never insulted leaders, they never did this. Only those who do not have ANC in their blood do this,” said Zuma.

There was jubilation as Zuma entered the conference venue in Parys on Sunday.

With their fingers up, signaling second term for Zuma, delegates sang pro-Zuma songs for almost an hour after his arrival, on instruction of the provincial leadership who encouraged them to dance for their president.

In Zuma’s presence, members of the NEC deployed to the province including Communications Minister Dina Pule, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Mining Minister Susan Shabangu, also made the signal to show their support for second term for Zuma.

The provincial conference rejected wholesale nationalisation, expropriation of land without compensation, but endorsed the second transition document.

The conference endorsed the ANC’s decision to expel Malema – saying it must serve as an example to other ANC members.

Zuma warned that the ANC would have to take firm action against senior ANC leaders who dissented from the party line.

Zuma faction to 'suppress' leadership debate

25 Jun 2012 06:44 - Nickolaus Bauer

ANC members aligned to President Jacob Zuma say no discussions about leadership will be allowed on to the agenda at the upcoming policy conference.

Supporters of ANC president Jacob Zuma will stop any attempts to discuss leadership issues at the ruling party’s policy conference this week.

This is the unyielding view of sources within the ruling party, who told the Mail & Guardian they will “suppress” any attempts to discuss succession within the ruling party.

“People wanting to abuse this conference by bringing up leadership will be silenced. They cannot use this conference to put forward their own agenda – it won’t happen,” said one ruling party source, requesting to remain anonymous but known to be a Zuma supporter.

Officially, it would seem the party itself officially supports this train of thought, telling the M&G it would be “out of line” for delegates to discuss leadership or succession in Midrand.

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu told the M&G that “only policies” must be discussed at the policy conference which takes place at Gallagher Estate from Tuesday.

“The reality is that this is a policy conference and not an elective conference and ANC members must differentiate between the two,” Mthembu said.

This is despite nothing being stated in the ANC constitution regarding the rules of engagement within a policy conference.

Zuma is currently embroiled in a covert leadership tussle in an attempt to retain his position as president of the party at their upcoming national elective conference in Mangaung this December.

Although neither has publicly stated their intentions, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale are both seen as the frontrunners to challenge Zuma in Mangaung.

Sexwale recently told a rally in Alexandra that ANC leaders should change or face removal, while Motlanthe strongly criticised the ruling party’s recent calls for a second transition.

Both instances are interpreted as veiled attacks on Zuma’s leadership.

Zuma, meanwhile, lashed out at critics of the second transition at the party’s Free State provincial conference at the weekend, challenging them to come up with a better plan.

While the policy conference is not officially sanctioned as a meeting where leadership can be debated, it is expected to be the arena in which the presidential hopefuls would informally launch and gauge support for their campaigns.

These comments follow hot on the heels of a City Press report claiming NEC member Tony Yengeni – who is thought to be anti-Zuma – said issues surrounding succession would be thrashed out at the policy conference.

“Leadership will be discussed, especially how leadership conducts itself. There will be an assessment of the current leadership of the ANC,” Yengeni is quoted in the article.

Mthembu said that while the party couldn’t control “people discussing things in shebeens and taverns”, anyone attempting to put leadership issues on the agenda will be prevented from doing so.

“On Friday when President Zuma closes this conference, the ANC will come out with clear ideas on policies and nothing else,” he said.

But, a high level ANC NEC member told the M&G it would be “foolhardy” for the ANC to think leadership won’t come up at the policy conference.

“People talk, you can’t stop that.”

The issue of leadership of the party won’t come up directly, but it could arise within the policy commissions taking place at the conference,” the source, who requested anonymity, told the M&G.

The source also said issues involving “quality” of leadership would more than likely be introduced.

“It is possible for members to discuss what type of leadership we want going forward, what attributes and qualities we need in our leadership,” he said.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe put a lid on any discussions around leadership in the run up to Mangaung, saying leadership debates will only officially be opened in October.

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