African National Congress (ANC) leaders who supported President Thabo Mbeki in the build-up to the party’s elective conference in Polokwane will not be victimised, the party’s newly elected leadership said on Monday.
”The ANC reiterates, once again, that there is no programme to remove any ANC deployees from their positions on the basis of any views they may have held in preparation for the Polokwane conference,” the party said in a statement.
Fears that there would be a purge were baseless as the party had no intention to change its traditions in relation to the deployment of its members to structures such as the government.
”The standard organisational practices with respect to deployment and re-deployment will continue as normal,” the ANC said.
Feedback from the party leadership’s recent visit to branches of the organisation across the country had confirmed that members of the ANC were a united front.
”ANC members in our structures have shown determination and enthusiasm to work with the leadership in implementing the resolutions of the conference.
”There is consensus at all levels of leadership and among the general membership that we need a unified ANC to be able to successfully execute the mandate of conference,” the organisation said.
The Sunday Times reported on the weekend that fear now stalks the corridors of ANC power as the party’s new president, Jacob Zuma, asserts his authority in Parliament, the provinces and the party structures.
”Top ANC leaders were told this week that many party members feared being axed from government positions because of their perceived loyalty to outgoing President Thabo Mbeki, who was ousted from the party leadership in December,” the newspaper said.
ANC MPs made their anxiety known to deputy party president Kgalema Motlanthe, deputy secretary general Thandi Modise and national chairperson Baleka Mbete in a closed lekgotla (meeting) of the ANC’s parliamentary caucus on Thursday.
”Modise assured caucus members that there was no need for ‘uncertainty’ and ‘insecurity’,” the Sunday Times wrote.
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe told the newspaper on the sidelines of the party’s Eastern Cape lekgotla that there would not be a purge, but added: ”We cannot claim there is a moratorium on Cabinet reshuffles.”
Meanwhile, reports of a leadership battle within the ANC Youth League were mere ”rumour-mongering”, outgoing league president Fikile Mbalula said on Monday.
”We have noted media reports that there is a jostling for the ANC Youth League president candidacy,” he told reporters in Johannesburg.
”These reports are nothing more than that malicious rumour-mongering aimed at undermining the unity and cohesion of the youth league and confusing its branches leading up to its 23rd congress.”
Mbalula is to vacate his position in early April after the league’s 23rd national conference.
He said discussions on nominations for his successor would start at branch level, and culminate in a national nomination list. — Sapa