/ 24 January 2010

Winnie: ‘We have lost the soul of the ANC’

The power-struggle in the ANC-led alliance is “disgusting”, the Sunday Independent reported ANC stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
as saying.

“That is not my ANC, where positions have become so important,” Madikizela-Mandela said in an interview with newspaper.

“The bickering is all about leadership. It is all about positions. That is the disgusting debate we are having. That is how much we have lost the soul of the ANC,” she said.

Madikizela-Mandela also said it would be detrimental to former president Nelson Mandela if he knew about the tensions in the ruling alliance.

“His children are sort of keeping him away from it all because I think that is what would quicken our journey to eternity,” she said.

Madikizela-Mandela also said ANC Youth League president Julius Malema was her “product”.

“His rebellious attitude is part of the process of growing up. And he will make a great leader one day.”

Cracks surfaced last year in the alliance between the ANC, the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu).

Alliance leaders called for unity at the ANC’s 98th anniversary celebrations in Kimberley in January.

“Much more needs to be done to improve the alliance relations at national and sub-national levels,” said ANC president Jacob Zuma at the time.

SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande echoed his words. “We want to say that at no stage of our history did we need to strengthen our alliance as we do now,” he said.

At the same event Malema asserted the ANC’s central position in the alliance and political power in the country.

Madikizela-Mandela called for ANC members to return to their roots.

People must remember that the ANC is bigger than any of us. The ANC leads. We will overcome this,” she said.

Alliance ‘alive and healthy’ in Gauteng
Meanwhile, the party’s Gauteng provincial executive committee said on Sunday that the alliance was “alive and healthy”.

Committee secretary David Makhura said however that the ANC was the leader and the strategic centre of power in the alliance.

“This gives the ANC a responsibility to lead and ensure that all issues of disagreements are resolved in a comradely and amicable manner without resorting to public spats,” he said.

Makhura told reporters that the committee had decided to hold an early provincial conference in May due to the Soccer World Cup.

Holding the conference before June, he said, would enable the party to use the conference to prepare for this year’s events.

“The process is also an important platform to debate and develop policies, renew and rejuvenate structures and elect leadership,” he said.

Makhura said it was too early to say who would stand or not stand for re-election as the process was yet to begin.

In March, he said branch members of the ANC would debate policy issues and elect their candidates to hold office in the provincial leadership.

He also said that the party would use this year’s conference to right the wrongs of the past by developing clear guidelines to ensure lobbying was consistent with the party’s constitution.

“Discussion documents will be developed and distributed to branches on the policy issues for consideration in preparation for the national general council,” Makhura said.

The Soccer World Cup was one of the priorities of the party.

“The PEC will lead a major campaign to mobilise our people in different sectors to support and participate in all the build-up festivities and actual events during this historic moment in the lifetime of our nation.” – Sapa