Ramaphosa urges ANC national leaders to stop meddling in provincial electoral processes

ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa.
ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Image: Rogan Ward

President Cyril Ramaphosa has warned ANC national leaders to stop interfering with the election processes of leaders at the provincial level. Ramaphosa was keynote speaker at the ANC Gauteng 13th provincial conference in Irene, Pretoria East, on Friday.

“You know comrades, as I go around the country, a number of structures keep on saying, ‘comrade president, we just wish national leaders of the ANC should not interfere in the election of leaders at the provincial level’. Some in the ANC Youth League say, ‘we ask that national leaders should not interfere’,” Ramaphosa said.

When youth league president Collen Maine was elected in 2015, he was associated with ANC North West chairman and former provincial premier Supra Mahumapelo, and the league supported former president Jacob Zuma, who was rocked by allegations of corruption.

Comrades hate each other so much that they don’t want to work together

Ramaphosa conceded that he made a mistake by announcing his slate in the build-up to the ANC national elective conference in Nasrec, South of Johannesburg, last year.

“Members of the ANC said you are naughty. You don’t choose who you are going to work with. Members of the ANC choose who you are going to work with,” he said.

Ramaphosa confirmed that the line-up included Higher Education and Training Minister Naledi Pandor as his deputy.  He also  told delegates that there is a new tendency in the ANC that suggests  contestation means hatred.  

“Comrades hate each other so much that they don’t want to work together,” he said, adding that squabbles and hatred among comrades in the ANC weakened the party and drove people away.

Ramaphosa said he was working very well with Minister in the Presidency Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma despite the fact that they contested each other for the position of ANC president. “We sit next to each other in cabinet.”

Ramaphosa also appealed to delegates to honestly assess the extent to which the ANC’s weaknesses have contributed to the decline in electoral support.

“In doing this, we must not tear each other apart, but we must speak the truth without fear or favour, with sole intention to self-correct. Our process of introspection, which may at times be painful, must be undertaken in a manner that safeguards the unity of the movement.

"We must emerge out of this conference certain that we have put behind us once and for all the negative tendencies that serve only to create a distance between us and the people,” he said.

The president said the ANC’s poor performance in the local government elections in 2016 suggested that the ANC was not fulfilling people’s expectations. “The results revealed much about the presence of our organisation in communities and its responsiveness to the needs and concerns of the electorate.”

The ANC lost the Tshwane and Johannesburg metros in the elections.

Ramaphosa said people must have confidence that the ANC has listened to their concerns and that it is now firmly on the path of renewal.

“Never again must our people believe that as we gather here, we are interested only in fighting for positions of leadership. Conference must be firm against all foreign practices which erode the confidence of our people in the ANC such as the manipulation of processes, gate-keeping, bulk-buying of membership and even violence.”

Ramaphosa also made concession that the conference must discuss the controversial e-toll system in Gauteng.

Gauteng premier David Makhura, who is set to replace Paul Mashatile as the provincial chairman, told delegates that the conference would discuss issues such as economy and jobs, crime,  high cost of living, e-tolls, education, health and corruption.

“I want to assure the people of our province that everything that worries them shall receive attention of this conference. These are the issues facing our people. We must emerge out of this conference with a solution,” Makhura said.

Delegates at the conference received Ramaphosa and Dlamini-Zuma warmly.

However, some delegates booed when former deputy minister of higher education and training Mduduzi Manana was introduced as one of the ANC leaders attending the conference.

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