President Jacob Zuma has come out swinging over infighting in the African National Congress (ANC), saying "counter-revolutionary forces" are responsible for ruptures within the party.
The president seemed more confident than usual in front of hundreds of delegates at the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) national conference in Boksburg on Friday, spending most of his keynote address emphasising the need for unity within the party and the alliance. The MKMVA is a strong supporter of Zuma and is at odds with the MK Veterans Council, under the leadership of party elders like Murphy Morobe and Mavuso Msimang.
Zuma said the movement is confronted with "serious challenges" which threaten organisational cohesion, unity and the ANC's standing as the "legitimate leader" of South Africa,
He told MKMVA members that they are best placed to "rise, speak and fight" in defense of the movement and the national democratic revolution.
"The challenges we are facing today are not cut and dry. They are complex and require sober minds. Ours is a revolutionary movement, therefore in our efforts to resolve our challenges, we must always make a thorough assessment of the state of our movement," Zuma said.
"We are confronted by a situation of contending forces with antagonistically contradictory interests both domestically and globally."
Zuma attacked his opponents: "We have seen in the recent past the sporadic emergence of civil society groupings mobilized on the basis of hostile opinions against the ANC and its leadership. Some have fallen into the trap and have joined these groupings in order to appear intellectually and morally sound."
Aim is to 'destroy ANC'
He said those participating in activities aimed at "dividing, weakening and destroying the ANC" were acting in a "counter-revolutionary manner" and called upon his audience to refuse joining in "sporadic movements whose origins and ultimate objectives we do not know".
"Let us put a stop to the public spats which serve only to derail us from the tasks of our revolution which advance the interests of our enemy. We are already under attack from many fronts, we cannot afford more self-inflicting pain," Zuma said.
He admitted that the ANC's power is in decline, saying the party's branches are dropping in numbers and that the leadership is failing to mobilize the "broadest strata" of society. He said the party was "eroding".
The enemy is 'white monopoly capital'
Zuma also reiterated the need for radical socio-economic transformation and said the country's enemy is "white monopoly capital".
He also spoke about land redistribution, saying imbalances in ownership must be handled within the parameters of the Constitution and the law: "If the law and the Constitution does not meet the standards for equal distribution, these can be amended."