As African National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma delivered his last January 8 statement, the glaring theme of his address was unity within the party and speaking with one voice.
The speech has left many questioning if the party will be walking the talk and taking decisive action against those who go against directives.
Political analysts believe the party has the perfect opportunity to put to practice its macho talk and discipline the structures that have started the succession battle debate. The ANC Women's League has thrown its weight behind outgoing African Union Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to take over at the end of December when the party elects new leaders. It joined the ANC Youth League in KwaZulu-Natal in backing Dlamini-Zuma.
Cosatu has meanwhile thrown its weight behind party deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa. The ANC has been urging members not to peddle slate politics as they cause divisions within the movement. The party has also not given the green light to start the journey to the elective conference.
Political analyst Levy Ndou agreed with the party's view that the focus on succession battles hampers the implementation of programmes and has urged the organisation to deal with those who go against party pronouncements.
"If the ANC is decisive, then the ANC must do something about the behaviour of the ANC Women's League. The ANC has indicated that the succession debate has not been opened and anybody who would love to talk about it and start making pronouncements are actually working against the party. If the party is decisive then they must act against those in the leagues who have started the debate," said Ndou.
Secretary-general Gwede Mantashe on Sunday said those who had made the pronouncements were ill-disciplined. Ralph Mathekga echoed the sentiments but added that factionalism was another contributing factor. Mathekga said the levels go very deep and he does not believe they can ever be resolved or buried with a speech delivered once a year.
"Especially when that speech is being delivered by someone who is the champion of factionalism, it's going to be difficult to reign in those members of the leagues. The leagues have been very rampant for a very long time," he said.
Professor Dirk Kotze said there was nothing new out of the speech delivered by Zuma. He said the party has been talking about the issue for some time but it has not translated into tangible change. Kotze added that the upcoming elective conference was not helping the situation.
"The situation is at a point where the ANC has become so divided that it will only take the different leaders coming together speaking with one voice to indicate their unity. Ramaphosa, ANCWL, ANCYL and the premier league must come out to show they are on the same page and are united. I don't think the speech will have much of an impact," said Kotze.
The party has a monumental task to lay the perfect foundation for many years to come to rid itself of slate politics and divisions. The only way for that to happen, the race to the throne has to be clean, fair and dignified. They will have to find ways of ensuring brown envelopes don't find a way into the mix as well the promise to reward people with lucrative positions.