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24 Jan 2009 16:45
ANC president Jacob Zuma wants to create ‘shortcuts” in dealing with corruption so that others do not suffer the same fate as him when he was accused of corruption and fraud.
Zuma addressed the 400 delegates at the party’s list conference in Esselen Park outside Johannesburg where he complained that the ‘route to deal with corruption is too long”.
Zuma will be the party’s presidential candidate for the upcoming elections, but he is on trial for corruption and fraud, a case the ANC perceives as a political trial in which he has been unfairly treated.
‘We must find a way to shorten the route to deal with corruption. The route is too long because it allows people to run off the tracks.
Some of us are said to be involved in one thing or the other.
The list conference is held before the national elections to finalise the party lists that are handed to the Independent Electoral Commission. These lists contain the names of ANC representatives for Parliament and provincial legislatures.
The deliberations of the conference started three hours late due to an urgent meeting by the national list committee, which oversees the process.
The conflict between Zuma and former president Thabo Mbeki started when Mbeki fired him because he was implicated in the corruption trial of his financial backer Schabir Shaik. This conflict led to a bitter battle at the ANC’s conference in Polokwane where Zuma trumped Mbeki to become the president of the ANC. In September last year Mbeki was recalled as national president by the ANC.
Zuma warned delegates that the ANC will ‘come down hard” on corruption and reminded those who are relegated to positions of power that they could be recalled if they don’t deliver.
‘We should not be ready to tolerate comrades who don’t deliver. And then [when you get recalled], no one must say I was singled out because people didn’t like me. If it means losing friendships, it will have to be.”
A significant part of Zuma’s defence against the corruption charges is that he was a victim of a political conspiracy and that he was the focus of the arms-deal investigation while many other ANC leaders were also involved in corrupt activities but were never properly investigated.
Zuma urged the would-be parliamentarians to get to work within three weeks after the elections and said he expected them to ‘rigorously” oversee the work of ministers in the executive arm of government.
One quarter of the final lists will be ANC member directly nominated through the branch processes while the rest of the list may be tinkered with by the ANC leadership before submission to the IEC to ensure gender parity and demographic balance.
Zuma added that the ANC plans to prioritise the implementation of government programmes relating to health, crime, education, rural development and job creation in line with the party’s election campaign that hinges on these issues.
The conference is expected to wrap up its business on Saturday night.
Read more from Mandy Rossouw
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