Former Cabinet minister and ANC stalwart Tokyo Sexwale has warned that the ANC's elective conference in December is in danger of collapsing. Sexwale said the party is "thoroughly divided", in an interview with The Sowetan.
Last week, former finance minister Trevor Manuel said the December conference was in danger of collapsing before its third day. He said the Mangaung conference in 2012, which saw President Jacob Zuma reelected as ANC president, was the result of gross manipulation of membership and branch systems" and "unthinking and disengaged delegates".
Manuel said there was a high likelihood that numbers would be manipulated this time around.
"...And if this is so, the likelihood of the conference collapsing into a heap at the point of the credential stage on days one and two is high. If the conference does proceed, the same awful situation will play out," Manuel said.
Sexwale told The Sowetan that he could not disagree with Manuel.
"Anyone who thinks it will be easy is self-delusional. The levels of hostility within the ranks... we are a thoroughly divided ANC. All leaders say we are divided. ANC leaders are characterised by common views. Currently the common view is division."
Sexwale reportedly said "posterity will pass the most vitriolic judgement on us" if the ANC did not prepare itself for all eventualities. He expressed concern that the party acknowledged that it was divided but still planned to go ahead with the conference with no contingency plans in place.
"One of the critical things for the ANC leadership to consider is that we may leave the conference with an interim structure of people are not interested in standing for any position. I count myself among such people. However, my wish is that this does not happen and we leave the conference with an outcome," he said.
The ANC is currently finalising its branch-nomination process.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe recently told Talk Radio 702 that the ANC needed to self-correct at its December conference."Self-correction is a function of what the ANC does and as I said‚ the December conference is a very important milestone for self-correcting. If the ANC fails to self-correct in that conference‚ it is likely to decline further‚ so the first timeline for self-correction is the December conference," he reportedly said.