It must be made clear to those who elected the African National Congress (ANC) that they voted for the ruling party with president Jacob Zuma steering the ship and that the party remained “unshaken” by Tuesday’s vote of no confidence in Zuma.
This was according to ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairman, Sihle Zikalala, speaking at the closing of the province’s July lekgotla at Coastlands Hotel on Durban’s south beach on Monday.
Zikalala made the remarks about 40 minutes before National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete announced that the motion on Tuesday, would be done by secret ballot.
“It must be clear that the motion to remove president Zuma does not represent the 62 percent who voted in favour of him,” Zikalala told a room full of ANC delegates that included ministers, deputy ministers, the premier, MECs and mayors.
He frequently deviated from his scripted speech to remonstrate, passionately telling delegates that the vote of no confidence was about the removal of Zuma and dislodging the ANC, for which he received loud applause.
The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal is known to be a staunch supporter of Zuma and is the ruling party’s largest support base. It holds extensive sway during party voting processes.
Zikalala said it was strange and unfortunate that some ANC members thought “their conscience takes precedence over the collective wisdom of the movement”.
This was no doubt a reference to KZN-based ANC dissident Makhosi Khoza, who has publicly derided the president’s leadership skills and stated that she would vote with her conscience on Tuesday.
“Those who call for voting [according to conscience] joined the ANC. They then work according to the directions of the ANC. They are allowed to debate issues inside the ANC. But there is no deployed cadre of the ANC who can support a motion of a counter revolutionary force,” said Zikalala.
“Essentially, this vote of no-confidence is a campaign platform of our opponents ahead of the 2019 national general elections,” he said.
It was “psychological warfare” intended to harm the reputation of the party and its leaders.
Those supporting the motion would be supporting a “counter revolutionary agenda”, he said, adding that ANC members should vote against the motion, “but in confidence in president Zuma to lead this country until 2019”.