The ANC’s Veterans League plans to meet with presidential candidates Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma together, in a bid to prevent further tensions over the party succession battle.
Veterans league president Snuki Zikalala said on Sunday morning that the league had already met the two separately to ask them to commit to unifying the ANC after the conference. The league had decided to take the initiative, along with the provincial chairpersons of the ANC, in a bid to reduce the tensions between the factions supporting the two candidates.
The league is a voting ANC structure comprising its retired leaders and cadres, and the league advises the party. It has previously called for Jacob Zuma to step down as ANC and state president in response to the #Guptaleaks emails, which exposed the capture of the state by the controversial family.
“We are planning as the veterans and the chairpersons of the provinces to meet with the two and say to them: ‘Never mind who wins, you must make sure that the ANC emerges united,’” Zikalala said.
“They are both committed cadres of the movement. They can see that the movement is going through crisis; that the country is going through crisis. I’m sure they will put the country first,” he said.
Asked if there was any realistic chance of this happening, given the entrenchment of the factions, Zikalala said, “we have that hope”.
“They [Dlamini-Zuma and Ramaphosa] are both committed to making sure that the ANC doesn’t collapse. They are also interested in making sure that the country doesn’t collapse.”
He said a meeting had been held with Dlamini-Zuma, who had committed to unity. A second meeting had been held with Ramaphosa, who also did so. A meeting with both would be held either before or after the ANC elective process.
“I’m sure we will not come out like Polokwane. We were still wounded then,” Zikalala said.
Turning to Zuma’s organisational overview, Zikalala said his speech had been “okay” and a “little bit conciliatory” as he was leaving office. “The masses will judge. I can’t say more than that,” he said.
Zikalala said Zuma, who had indicated his intention to serve in the league, would be “handled like any other member”.
“He will have to fill in an application form. We will look at it … [and decide whether to] accept it. He will be part and parcel of the organisation, like any other ordinary member,” said the league president.