The ANC has good leaders who will take the party forward, said President Jacob Zuma, adding that the time for him to go on pension was near.
Speaking at an event forming part of the ANC’s 105th anniversary celebrations in KwaDukuza, KwaZulu-Natal, Zuma reminded party supporters and members of a conversation between former party president Albert Luthuli and other leaders.
“I remember Luthuli at an ANC conference in Natal. He was the president of the ANC at the time and, after hearing Oliver Tambo, who was the deputy president, speaking, he said ‘even if we were to die now, we are confident that we have the right leaders to take the party forward’.”
Zuma said he was confident that young ANC members would continue the work started by the likes of Tambo and other great leaders. He reminded party supporters that many of them had joined the ANC to improve the lives of people, stressing that those coming in must continue to do that so the party stayed strong.
“The road to prosperity is not easy and it requires men and women who are truthful and love the country and such people can only be found in the ANC,” he said.
Zuma said the ANC was currently fixing all the problems the party had been facing. He urged people to desist from talking publicly about their preferred presidential candidates, as a policy conference is still to be held ahead of the elective conference at the end of this year.
“We have to work hard this year and ANC members must regain lost territories from opposition parties,” he said. Zuma’s deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, who was addressing a similar event in the Eastern Cape, said while great progress has been made since the ANC came into power in 1994, “we have not yet overcome poverty, hunger, disease, unemployment, illiteracy and inequality”.
He said ANC supporters and members must be honest enough to recognise that disunity, mistrust, ideological incoherence and organisational weakness was undermining the party’s ability to address the challenges confronting the people.
“Building the unity of the ANC and the alliance is, therefore, the most important and urgent task of the moment. At all levels of the organisation, in our leagues and even among some components of the alliance, leadership contests are accompanied by practices such as gatekeeping, vote buying, electoral fraud and even violence,” Ramaphosa said.
He said everyone in the ANC must face the reality that much of the factionalism in the movement was rooted in competition for access to resources.
“We must acknowledge here that there are instances where internal ANC processes have been infiltrated by individuals and companies seeking preferential access to state business.”
He said many of the divisions were among leaders.
“These are divisions not based on ideological or political differences and they are not based on disagreements over strategy or policy. These are divisions that are fuelled by a relentless competition for positions, influence and control over resources and this is the reality we are determined to change.”