'ANC treasurer-general and presidential hopeful Zweli Mkhize says corruption is one of the biggest scourges that the party must eliminate if it is to survive.
Mkhize was speaking at the Gauteng provincial general council opening at the Saint George's Hotel in Irene on Friday evening.
Mkhize urged delegates – most of whom are expected to attend the ANC's national conference in two weeks' time – to consider issues of inequality, unemployment, crime and corruption when negotiating party policy and electing leadership at the conference.
"We must always remember that that issue of corruption is one of the most important scourges that we have to eliminate in our society if we are to survive as a party, as a government and also as people of South Africa...there are elements who are prone to corruption who we must be able to identify and act upon," Mkhize said.
He said the party faces a number of challenges which have given rise to factionalism, gatekeeping, vote buying, patronage and slate politics.
"[Paul Mashatile] and I were speaking and we traced the rise of factionalism and slate politics to the Polokwane conference...None of us noticed how far that factional polarization has destroyed the ANC... We must have leaders who are going to be exemplary," Mkhize said.
"You also want leaders who are going to focus on what our core function is. There are many of us, if not all, who are products of the slates. But the slates have also made us lose a lot of good comrades...its beginning to create an impression as to whether we are good or they are the better part of the ANC."
He also mentioned a number of court cases in provinces around the country where ANC members are contesting the legitimacy of their own structures.
"We are going to this conference with a lot more challenges than we have faced in the past. There are five court cases in five provinces. It's ANC vs ANC. The numbers of disputes, unfortunately the time is too short now to resolve them. We can make sure that that conference emerges with a strong and united ANC," he said.
He said the focus of the conference should not only be about electing a new leadership structure, but also about formulating policies which will confront issues of economic transformation, economic exclusion, unemployment and poverty.