Winnie ‘deeply hurt’, will try to broker truce

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela said she will this week launch a last-minute bid to broker a truce between African National Congress president Thabo Mbeki and his deputy, Jacob Zuma, said the Sunday Times.

Madikizela-Mandela wants to convince both leaders that the only way to stem the bloodletting in the party is for them to remain in their respective positions and then both to quit the party leadership within five years, said the paper.

Madikizela-Mandela told the Sunday Times on Saturday that she was ‘deeply hurt” by the divisions in the ANC ”where sister is attacking sister and comrades are at each others’ throats”.

‘I have been a member of the ANC for more than 50 years and there have been many contestations in the past, but never has it been characterised by such a high level of acrimony, personal attacks, accusations and counter-accusations and a total disregard for the ANC and what it stands for by both sides,” she was quoted by the paper as saying.

She said she would seek meetings with Mbeki and Zuma this week.

‘I am confident that both Mbeki and Zuma will accept my invitation to meet with them as a matter of urgency in the coming few days ahead of Limpopo,” she told the Sunday Times.

The Limpopo conference, which gets under way in Polokwane on December 16, has exposed the deep divisions with the party.

South African Communist Party’s Blade Nzimande said on Saturday that countering revenge would triumph over unity as the key challenge after the conference.

”The best kind of revenge is to intensify the struggle for a better life,” said the general secretary.

He was speaking at the unveiling of the tombstone for Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) martyr Barney Molokoane at the Merafe Primary School in Tlali, Soweto. Molokoane died in 1985.

Although the event was intended to honour Molokoane’s accomplishments in the struggle to free the country from apartheid, speaker after speaker used the opportunity to talk about the ANC leadership struggle.

It is important those elected in Limpopo not be ”tempted to vanquish their perceived opponents”, said Congress of South African Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. ”Such an approach will not heal the movement, but only serve to widen the gulf of divisions,” he said.

”In Polokwane, we will elect a quality leadership who can hold each other accountable,” said Tokyo Sexwale, who has denied accusations of bank-rolling Zuma in the leadership race. ”If they fail to perform, we will use our power to recall them,” he said. – Sapa

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