Veterans and stalwarts of the African National Congress (ANC) are set to campaign for the governing party ahead of the crucial general elections next year.
This after President Cyril Ramaphosa and his deputy, David Mabuza, on Monday met with the ANC’s Veterans’ League in Johannesburg for the first time since the party’s national elective conference in December last year.
Addressing the media a few minutes after the meeting concluded, the second president of the ANC’s Veterans’ League Snuki Zikalala said they had very fruitful and constructive discussions with the new ANC leadership under Ramaphosa.
“The veterans and the stalwarts agreed that they will campaign and ensure that we build the dignity that the ANC had before, so that we restore confidence people had in South Africa and also in the ANC,” Zikalala said.
Relations between the veterans and the ANC’s leadership were strained during former president Jacob Zuma’s last term as party leader. The group had called on the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) to recall Zuma from office after a litany of corruption scandals that rocked his administration.
Zuma resigned as state president in February a day after the NEC recalled him following the December congress in Nasrec, Johannesburg, which elected Ramaphosa as his successor over his preferred candidate and ex-wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Zikalala said the role of the veterans and stalwarts in the organisation was also discussed in the meeting.
“We all agreed that stalwarts belong to the ANC and these are the people who live the ANC. We are all ANC people and we will all campaign to make sure that the ANC delivers on its set objectives and also we as veterans need to make sure that the veterans’ league are the custodians of the ANC’s values and traditions, and those values must be guarded with our lives,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ramaphosa said the meeting was positive overall and was aimed at reconnecting with the stalwarts.
“We were briefing them about the moment we are in now as the new leadership in the ANC. We had positive views all of us about what needs to be done and the role that should be played by our stalwarts in this new moment, new dawn that we are in,” he said.
Ramaphosa had praises for the group. He said the veterans and stalwarts were the custodians and guardians of the values of the ANC.
“They have been in the trenches, they have contributed greatly to the growth and development of our movement. And they have a place of pride in the life of the ANC.”