Mashatile calls for 'renewed ANC'
THE GAUTENG ANC has all but anointed Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe as its preferred presidential candidate even though the latter is yet to publicly state his intention to unseat President Jacob Zuma later this year.
While Motlanthe has played his cards close to his chest, much to the irritation of some within the party, the Gauteng ANC seems to have made up its mind about who it wants to succeed Zuma when the governing party convenes its elective congress in Mangaung, Free State.
In his welcoming remarks yesterday to provincial, regional and branch executive committee members, Gauteng ANC chairman and Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile showed the province's hand when he stopped short of calling for Motlanthe to accept the province's support.
He was speaking at a graduation ceremony of the party's Walter Sisulu leadership academy at the University of Johannesburg, Soweto campus.
Mashatile is himself believed to be part of the effort to force a leadership change that could see him occupying the ANC national chairman's position.
"We must come out of Mangaung with a renewed ANC," Mashatile said to loud cheers from the audience.
"The renewal of the organisation must include the renewal of the leadership. We must be led by a strong and renewed leadership.
"We must reject those who go around lobbying our branches for people we don't know of," Mashatile said.
He twice referred to Motlanthe as "the son of Gauteng" and "our leader". He then led delegates into singing: " Ho ya rona ba pelo tse thata ko pele. E reng magwala a tjhetjhele morago, ho ya rona ba pelo tse thata ko pele " (We, who are brave, are moving forward. Let the cowards remain behind, we the brave ones are moving forward).
Mashatile also called for regions to assess Zuma's leadership ahead of the October deadline when branches will officially nominate their preferred candidates.
So far, the Greater Johannesburg region- the biggest and most influential in the province - is said to have given Zuma's leadership the thumbs down.
Spokesman Dumisa Ntuli told Sowetan that the remaining regions would soon assess the leadership but would not confirm when this process would get under way.
Those attending yesterday's proceedings with the hope that Motlanthe would finally give an indication of his intention to challenge Zuma for the ANC leadership left disappointed.
Motlanthe again stayed away from the succession battle, choosing instead, to warn guests about the dangers posed to the ANC by its own members.
"As a ruling party the ANC is no longer faced with the challenges it confronted during the era of the liberation struggle.
"Whereas in the past joining the struggle was a risky affair that entailed risking one's life for a cause, today joining the ANC potentially holds out benefits and rewards," he said.
"As cadres of the movement we should not be caught with our fingers in the till. It gives the ANC a bad name and depicts it as an organisation overrun with greed, corruption, venality and loose morals.
"This perception goes against the stated principles and values we stand for and diminishes our public image.
"History shows that even the most glorious liberation movements driven by the best interests of humanity are not impervious to the corrosive influence of material benefits that come with incumbency."
Motlanthe's sentiments were echoed by Mashatile who pointed out that information about corrupt members' exploits was easily accessible to the people and that an informed citizenry would prove troublesome to the ANC.
"We realised we had been recruiting a lot of people who were not trained in the political theory of the ANC. That is dangerous," Mashatile said.
"Access to information is widespread and the ANC is facing a public that is able to engage [the party] robustly.
"The ANC must modernise." - firstname.lastname@example.org