National 10.1.2017 08:44 pm

Stalwarts urge ANC to focus on unity, not factionalism

Faizel Randera speaks during a press conference by ANC stalwarts held at the Anglican church in Parktown, 10 January 2017. Picture - Neil McCartney

Faizel Randera speaks during a press conference by ANC stalwarts held at the Anglican church in Parktown, 10 January 2017. Picture - Neil McCartney

The stalwarts are set to meet with the ANC top six on Monday to thrash out the modalities of the consultative conference.

ANC stalwarts say there is a sense of urgency to achieve unity in the ANC, not only for the good of the party, but for the country.

It is for this reason they want to intervene to influence the party to change its trajectory to focus on unity and people, rather than on divisive issues such as leadership lists and who must be the president of the party.

The ANC stalwarts, addressing media in Johannesburg on Tuesday to give a progress report since their meeting with the ANC national executive committee last month, made it clear they wanted to return the party “to the people to whom it belonged”.

They would do so by “influencing the change of trajectory of factionalism to that of unity”, something they were confident would not only benefit the party, but the nation as whole.

The group said one of the concerns raised by membership was the ANC’s electoral system. They said members questioned if the system was not contributing to the current leadership crisis in the party, and were asking whether there was a need to change it.

ANC stalwart Rev Frank Chikane said they aimed to change the trajectory to return the ANC to the values it was known for.

“The ANC exists for the people. When it goes wrong, the government goes wrong and the people go wrong too,” Chikane said.

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Chikane said they were pushing for a national consultative conference to be held prior to the ANC policy conference in June, so that the latter conference could be positively influenced.

The stalwarts would on Monday meet with the ANC top six to thrash out the modalities of the consultative conference. A date for the conference might be announced on Monday, probably for April or early May.

A task team is in the process of consulting various ANC structures and its alliance partners to take their concerns to the party’s national leadership. It would first hold discussion with the ANC Women’s and Youth Leagues, and later with the alliance partners such as Cosatu, SACP and Sanco.

Parallel discussions would be held, organised by local structures at provincial, regional and branch levels. They would also revive and try to unite malfunctioning structures of the Military Veterans’ Association.

“This is about the change of trajectory, we will go beyond the alliance to various sectors of society. We are going to interact with them all, including the #FeesMustFall movement, said Chikane.

“The stalwarts agree that we could intervene and change the trajectory.”

“There is a need to emphasise the sense of urgency not only for the party but also for the country. That is why it is important to have an ANC that is working well,” said Murphy Morobe.

The group declined to speak on leadership slates and who should be the next ANC president, saying this was up to the party branches.

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