ANC NEC member Bheki Cele has expressed disappointment at some of the comments made by his party comrades following Makhosi Khoza's resignation from the party.
Speaking at a cadres' assembly in Danville, Tshwane on Thursday evening, Cele also attempted to respond to some of the ANC members' concerns and offered solutions to some of the challenges they faced in the now DA-led municipality.
However, his first order of business when he took to the podium was to address Khoza's departure from the 105-year-old liberation movement.
"I was very disappointed to hear comrade Kebby [Maphatsoe, MKMVA chair] say good riddance," Cele said.
He told the handful of ANC members gathered at the branch meeting that he felt this was worse coming from Maphatsoe, who was supposed to lead him as a former combatant and member of the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans' Association (MKMVA).
"I do not believe the part where members of the ANC must go away from the ANC. We are like this by adopting the doctrine of thinking that ANC belongs to us, [and that] others can go away," said Cele.
He described a song that used to be sung by members of the IFP several years ago, which he says had now been adopted by members of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal and in the Eastern Cape.
The lyrics included the words: "Those who want to leave must leave, we will remain and endure," which Cele said was in sharp contrast with what members of the party were singing in 2012 – "Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho hlanganani [let's get together]".
"You can tell people to go away from a spaza shop, but not from the ANC," said Cele.
He said members sometimes made people feel like they owned the organisation by becoming their praise singers and by deeming them to be above the organisations.
"People should not think I am the ANC," said Cele.
He used the opportunity to once again express disappointment at being a member of the ANC's National Executive Committee, stating that it also pained him at times because decisions the body took sometimes put itself and ANC in the backseat.
Cele also rubbished critics who have previously said he embarrassed the party with his public comments.
"Nobody is going to tell me to resign," he said.
He said he was doing what others told – by directing his message to the structures of the party, as he was doing that night.
His address was delivered on the eve of a special ANC NEC meeting on KwaZulu-Natal's problems.
The High Court in Pietermaritzburg recently ruled that the 2015 provincial congress was illegitimate and had to be nullified.
Cele described the province, which was once a united bloc, as now being the most divided one ahead of the ANC's national elective conference in December.
"One of the reasons that province is divided is the wrong decision we took as an NEC," said Cele.
The NEC previously decided that KZN should hold an early congress.