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Mashatile: Gauteng ANC united ahead of elective conference

The party concluded its conference on Sunday which was convened to prepare for the national policy gathering later this week.

FILE: Gauteng ANC leader Paul Mashatile. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG – The Gauteng African National Congress (ANC) says it will be united when it heads to the party’s elective conference in December and that the provincial party will not deviate from its principles when it nominates its candidate for ANC president.

The party concluded its conference on Sunday which was convened to prepare for the national policy gathering later this week.

While addressing the West Rand regional general council last week Gauteng ANC Chair Paul Mashatile said a precedent had been set that a deputy president takes over from the president.

Mashatile says they won’t compromise on their principles when they negotiate with other provinces.

“So we’re not going to go for consensus and forget the principles.”

But it’s understood even the province is not united on who it wants as the next president.

Divisions were visible at the start of the provincial policy conference with delegates singing pro-deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa songs while other delegates sang pro-President Jacob Zuma songs all at the same time.

Mashatile says he is confident the province will go to the elective conference united with one candidate for president.

MEETING WITH OTHER PROVINCES

Mashatile has told Eyewitness News the party’s provincial leadership will continue to meet with other provinces to reach consensus on succession in the party despite President Jacob Zuma warning against this.

Last week, Eyewitness News reported that Zuma cautioned against what he calls the “bargaining of candidates” between provinces, going as far as saying the ANC decided against this in 1997.

But Mashatile told Eyewitness News he disagrees with this.

“When we elect national leadership, you can’t just sit in our corner and propose a name. You need to engage with us, especially because we want consensus.”

Mashatile says Gauteng will continue to meet with other provinces over leadership.

“This is a make or break conference. You can’t just say let’s leave it to the branches. We’ll continue to engage.”

He says it’s always been the party’s tradition that when it's time for an elective conference, provinces meet to share views and ideas.

‘WE MUST REBUILD THE ANC’

Mashatile says the provincial party has agreed the moral integrity of the party needs to be rebuilt.

He said the ruling party needs to reclaim its place in society.

“We have agreed that we must rebuild the moral integrity of the ANC, and once more ensure that the ANC continues to be a leader of society and a parliament of the people.”

Earlier this month, Mashatile warned the party has been deeply divided and the succession debate has again become the source of even more division.

He has urged the party’s members to elect a leader who will unite the party ahead of the national conference.

Mashatile said now more than ever the ANC needs leaders who are not afraid to speak the truth.

Although the Gauteng chairperson has not publicly declared where his vote will go, he has not made his feelings about wanting President Jacob Zuma to step down a secret.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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