ANC veterans query Zuma campaign role

Former African National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma waves to supporters and potential voters during his door-to-door visits in Kwa-Mashu township in Durban on March 11, 2018.
Former African National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma waves to supporters and potential voters during his door-to-door visits in Kwa-Mashu township in Durban on March 11, 2018.
Image: Rajesh JANTILAL/AFP Forum

ANC veterans are questioning why party leaders allowed former president Jacob Zuma to campaign for the party during voter registration at the weekend.

This is according to ANC Veterans League president Snuki Zikalala, who said their call for Zuma to step down was based on the fact that he had brought the ANC into disrepute.

"The ANC said that they will use every individual and every member of the ANC to campaign. Comrade Zuma has gone out to campaign [and] that is fine but, at the same time, I think that we should look at that issue very seriously because the ANC has lost three metros and ANC integrity is non-existent currently [because of him]," said Zikalala.

He was speaking to Sowetan yesterday on the sidelines of their meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa in Sandton.

Ramaphosa apologised to the party's stalwarts for the ill treatment they received from Zuma.

The veterans league, which is a body of ANC elders, has the same powers as the ANC women's and youth leagues.

Like the other leagues, the veterans have a delegation that sits in the national executive committee (NEC), which is the highest decision-making body in between conferences, and it also sends a delegation to the ANC elective conference.

ANC stalwart and heavy Zuma critic Mavuso Msimang said as long as the former president said the right things during his campaigning for the ANC, it wasn't a problem. He said, however, that if it was up to him, he wouldn't use Zuma.

Fellow veteran and Zuma critic Wally Serote said they had no choice but to toe the party line.

"[Former] president Zuma is an ex-officio member of the ANC NEC [and] if the ANC pronounces on that, they have pronounced on it," he said.

"At the present moment in this meeting, one of the very important things that we discussed was the issue of introspection, so we are going to organise a very special meeting with the leadership of the ANC in terms of introspection and all [those] matters will be looked into."

However, Frank Chikane said Zuma was entitled to campaign for the ANC as they called for him to step down in his capacity as the head of state, and not from the party.

"There's no opinion by the veterans and stalwarts about that gesture because at the time we were dealing with the president of the country, not a member of the ANC.

"It is not about an individual, it's about the ANC [which] has deviated from what it used to be and it [was] not representing the wishes of the people, and now there has been change," said Chikane.

He added that there was a lot of work to be done in order to repair the damage done by Zuma over the past few years.

With the new political leadership, Chikane was certain that this would be possible.

In June last year, Zuma took a swipe at the stalwarts and at his predecessor Thabo Mbeki, labelling them as weak individuals.

Zuma said at the time: "They think they have got power and everything. In fact, one of the comrades... wrote me a letter and said these comrades are more important than us elected [leaders] because our job is just to do administrative work.

"I think I'd be wrong not to say this because many of us have controlled ourselves not to respond to these comrades because we know some of them are not as strong as they project themselves [to be]."

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