Zuma has an Ace up his sleeve
President Jacob Zuma has given his long-time ally Ace Magashule a stamp of approval after he emerged victorious in a questionable elective conference boycotted by some members in Free State at the weekend.
Zuma endorsed the conference, saying it was held within the constitutional framework of the ANC.
"I think it's as clear as anything, the manner in which delegates are conducting themselves, and there is evidence that the conference was that of the ANC as we know it," said Zuma yesterday amidst loud cheers from delegates who sang pro-Zuma songs and showed hand signals to the effect that he should get a second term.
He was speaking in Parys, Free State, on the last day of the conference. He brushed aside the divisions and tensions that manifested themselves in the province for the past few weeks, saying those had been dealt with by the national executive committee task team deployed in the province.
This was contrary to claims of irregularities in the auditing of several branches.
Ousted provincial executive committee members - secretary Sibongile Besani and treasurer Nxolisi Dukwana - were among those who raised the flag to national officials about the "flawed" processes leading up to the conference.
Dukwana also said the audits undertaken by the national audit team were flawed and inconsistent with the membership audit.
Zuma said those who had boycotted the conference were behaving in an un-ANC manner.
"The elections are just one of many. If you are a disciplined member, you come to conference no matter what views you have about the elections," he said.
The ANC Youth League also ditched the conference and held its own rally in Bethlehem.
The rally was addressed by the youth league's deputy president Ronald Lamola and Dukwana, much to the disappointment of the provincial leadership who viewed this as an act of ill-discipline.
This prompted Zuma to refer to the league as a lost generation, saying its conduct left much to be desired.
Comparing the current state of the league, Zuma said there was a vast difference between the current youth league and that of his days.
He said they used to raise issues "comradely" in his days, and never organised parallel meetings or insulted party leaders.
Zuma said like the youth of the 1950s, it was important to know the role of the ANCYL and not create a new role that never existed.
"They (1950s youth) never attempted to shape the ANC (from) outside there ... in slogans and in meetings that you cannot describe.
"I'm not certain whether the youth league of today is anything that inspires. I'm not certain ... things that some of our youth are doing do not inspire at all."
Zuma said the youth of today have a critical duty to defend the democratic gains of the struggle.
Indirectly referring to suspended youth league president Julius Malema, Zuma warned members that "it is cold out there".
On Saturday, Magashule praised Zuma's leadership and criticised Malema, now a staunch anti-Zuma campaigner, saying he must "leave the ANC if he thinks he knows better and thinks he owns the youth".
Zuma also attempted to garner support for his call for a "second transition" as stated in one of the documents up for discussion at tomorrow's policy conference to be held in Midrand, saying this was "the only way" to address social problems like poverty and unemployment.
"It's a matter of must ... people live in squalor. We must make a majority of poor people happy by changing their future."
Those who disagreed must find alternatives, he said.
Zuma's deputy Kgalema Motlanthe and the youth league are amongst those who have questioned the "second transition".