Baleka Mbete stirs up emotions at KZN PGC
"Not in my name‚ not in our names."
This was the stern warning sounded by Baleka Mbete‚ ANC national chairperson‚ as she officially opened the KwaZulu-Natal ANC provincial general council on Monday afternoon.
Mbete was addressing delegates about the outcome of a dinner that President Jacob Zuma had with all the ANC presidential candidates two weeks ago.
She said that they all committed to putting the needs of the ANC ahead of political infighting to ensure the integrity of the party.
"In that so-called last supper we committed to a number of things. We agreed that songs that are negative about one another should be done away with.
"Only songs about OR Tambo and songs that remind us what the ANC is about‚ not T-shirts split along factional lines. We don’t want caps that are dividing us. We made an undertaking and we met with provincial leaders‚ chairs and secretaries and that not in our names will disrupt the ANC conference. So not in my name‚" she said.
Mbete paid homage to Zuma for convening the dinner saying it was an evening that was "so constructive‚ so healing‚ it was an evening when one came to life‚ renewed and I felt like a human being".
"I was starting to forget this feeling. You feel whole again. That's what that evening did to us. The president suggested that it would be wise to speak to the cadres who are presidential hopefuls. Not just that‚ but to speak to them that when the democratic processes happens from time to time we must not get confused‚" she said.
The National Assembly Speaker said the mood was relaxed and comradely and they all agreed that the feeling shouldn't end at the dinner table on the night.
"We all agreed with him that when we go back to those who support us and say the ANC is bigger than all of us and must emerge triumphant. ANC must always emerge intact‚ stronger and bigger after this national conference‚" she said.
Mbete said this commitment was contrary to many predictions that the 54th national conference will disintegrate‚ that the ANC will split‚ and that there will be drama and chairs flying across the hall.
"We will go to the 54th conference and come back intact. We will focus on those things that matter most to our people. Things that are needs for the poorest of the poor. We are not going to conference to be at each other's throats. But that is not our pre-occupation to kill each other but to respond to the needs of our people‚" she said.
Mbete called for unity saying those who do not emerge triumphant must support those who win.
"You now have people when they lose they wage war until the next conference. Just accept that people have spoken and we must be magnanimous comrades‚" she said.
Mbete said the ANC should nonetheless admit that mistakes were made at the 53rd national conference in Mangaung.
"There are comrades we never treated well. Lets us admit that. I even remember specific songs we sang. It's ok to disagree but singing bad songs and driving them out of the conference was not right. This is what causes the chairs to fly‚" she said.
The PGC continues until Tuesday.