08/01/2017 22:25 SAST | Updated 09/01/2017 13:33 SAST

ANC Is Ready To Self Correct

President Jacob Zuma’s speech points to a re-awakening in the party

Frennie Shivambu/Gallo Images
ANC treasurer general Zweli Mkhize, deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, president Jacob Zuma, chairperson Baleka Mbete, secretary general Gwede Mantashe and deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte during the party's 105 birthday celebration in Soweto. (Photo by Frennie Shivambu/Gallo Images)

The African National Congress is on the path to self-correction, that is, if the speech delivered by president Jacob Zuma is anything to by.

Zuma who was delivering a National Executive Committee (NEC) statement that outlines plans for the organisation for the year told the nation that the ANC has been on the wrong path but it was turning the corner.

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said the speech was a good point of departure for the party to rediscover itself and to convince the country that issues raised with the organisation were being heeded.

"It means the ANC is in a position to reflect. You first have to start with the awareness of where you are and then find your way out of the problem. They are aware that they are in trouble and have suffered electorally and the image of the party is in tatters. They promise self-correction and to get things right," said Mathekga.

He indicated that in order for the party to fully attain what was said in the speech, then members must be committed to the common purpose of dealing with internal problems

In his speech, Zuma admitted that the party faced serious challenges to its unity. He said divisive tendencies such as factionalism, gatekeeping and manipulation of internal processes exist at all levels of the ANC, the ANC leagues, the alliance and the mass democratic movement.

"We accept that we have made mistakes and we shall correct these mistakes. One example of correcting our mistakes is that where these [ANC] processes have been manipulated, the ANC has sent teams to those regions to take the necessary steps," Zuma said.

Zuma also touched on the issue of reclaiming the economy and returning land back to its original owners.

The speech had a frank tone, suggesting the party has a genuine desire to see change.

Another political analyst, Levi Ndou said the speech addressed what has been in the minds of many South Africans and even some party members - that the organisation was in an uncomfortable position. Ndou said this was evident in the results of the local government elections, when the party lost control of three metros.

"The speech emphasised issues that have been in the minds of the majority - the land issue, radical economic transformation, unity in the party and ensuring that different factions that exist within the party are dealt with," he said.

Ndou added that the speech outlined the direction the party intends to take in 2017 as it fights to claw back lost ground.

Dirk Kotze, politics professor at the Tshwane University of Technology, said the use of Oliver Tambo as a point of reference during the speech spoke volumes and should be seen as a reaffirmation of what the party hopes to deliver. He said people should not see the speech as Zuma's but rather as one by the NEC's policy committee, chaired by Jeff Radebe.

"It also laid the foundation for the two lekgotla's and President Zuma's state of the nation address. The party is preparing a programme of action," he said.