23/05/2017 20:33 SAST | Updated 23/05/2017 20:33 SAST

ANC Elders Insist On Conference To Discuss Zuma, Party

The governing party has snubbed veterans . . . but they're not about to give up.

Supporters of the African National Congress (ANC) react during a Human Rights Day rally in Durban, South Africa, March 21, 2016. REUTERS/Rogan Ward
Rogan Ward / Reuters
Supporters of the African National Congress (ANC) react during a Human Rights Day rally in Durban, South Africa, March 21, 2016. REUTERS/Rogan Ward

Veterans and stalwarts of the African National Congress want to take their proposal for a separate national consultative conference back to the ANC's national executive committee.

They told journalists at a media briefing on Tuesday that they were writing a letter to the NEC, which meets on Friday.

The letter would document the communication and consultation the party's older generation has had with ANC officials over the past six months when they first proposed a national consultative conference.

"So far, our various interactions have led us to a point where we've begun to suspect whether the NEC has been getting comprehensive reports of the various engagements we have been having with either the national working committee, the top six, and the six-a-side meetings," said Murphy Morobe.

He said this was based on "the sense that we have not been getting any significant response from the NEC on these discussions, save for the first meeting last year, after our first engagement with the ANC last year".

Stalwarts of the party made a call for the movement to renew and recommit itself to the ANC's founding principles.

'Something wrong'

Two days of the ANC's policy conference in June have been set aside to discuss organisational renewal, where the stalwarts are expected to participate, but they remain unhappy with the proposal. They want a stand-alone consultative conference, and for the current leadership to step down.

"Through those engagements we have consistently restated the position that, for the NCC to be effective and to do what it is designed to do, it should not be coupled with the national conference, because these are very different conferences, both in terms of form and in terms of content."

The stalwarts also raised concern over the ANC's inability to understand the current crisis in which it finds itself. They said the current state of the ANC was also affecting the functioning of government and state institutions.

"There is no equivalent feeling of this crisis coming from the other side," said Morobe.

They told journalists that there was growing agitation around a number of issues in the country, to which they as veterans had to respond by providing leadership.

"If the ANC, at least the leadership, takes this long to realise what the rest of society has realised, and still wants to carry the mantle of being a leader of society... there must be something wrong," said Sydney Mufamadi.

Motion of no confidence

The former minister questioned the logic used by several ANC leaders when it came to the question of a motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe and ANC parliamentary chief whip Jackson Mthembu are among a number of leaders calling for MPs to vote according to the party line when the motion comes up in the National Assembly.

"To frame the issue to say: 'If you are voting on an issue that relates to the restoration to the credibility of Parliament, you must check whether you are voting with your opponent or not, is the wrong way of looking at [this],'" Mufamadi said.

He said the motion of no confidence was an opportunity for Parliament to show that it has an appreciation of the crisis facing the country.

"If people lose confidence in the parliamentary system, then we are going to have a free-for-all in the country," he warned. -- News24Wire