ANC NGC: Zuma talks tough on discipline & unity

The president also told delegates that they can’t take support from ANC members for granted.

President Jacob Zuma at the ANC’s NGC in Midrand on 9 October, 2015. Picture: Kgotatso Mogale/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma has pleaded with delegates at his party's national general council (NGC) to strengthen branches so that members support is not bought by ambitious leaders and he's warned the African National Congress (ANC) will not hesitate to act against its own.

Zuma has revealed that the ANC membership has dropped by around 200,000 members since 2012 and says this is due to tendencies of ill-discipline and factionalism that have crept into the party.

The national general council is a midterm review of ANC policies and resolutions between the party's national congresses.

In a frank address to delegates at the NGC, Zuma spoke out against what he says is the bulk buying of votes in his party.

"Most ANC branches function well and we'll agree that others are facing difficulties and need to be freed from tendencies such as manipulations and gate keeping."

He says the fact that branches can be infiltrated with money should be of serious concern.

"To deal with some of the negative tendencies including systematic sowing of divisions including we need to strengthen and empower ANC branches."

Zuma's comments follow widespread reporting that the so-called premier league has approached other ANC structures to campaign for positions.

Party leaders have complained several times that the practice of people running on leadership tickets leads to divisions in the party.

That's despite the fact President Jacob Zuma won the party's Polokwane conference through such a tactic.

Mkhize says a solution to this problem must be found.

"Once you get that habit in we need to find ways of how to undo it. It's not easy as it's something that we must accept that is our own doing."

WATCH: The ANC's national general council explained.

DON'T TAKE MEMBERS SUPPORT FOR GRANTED

The president also told delegates that they can't take support from ANC members for granted, warning that membership numbers have decreased.

During his opening address Zuma highlighted that work needed to be done to eliminate bad behaviour within the organisation.

He says the ANC has one key weapon.

Zuma says the ANC is a powerful party and one that everyone should be proud to be part of.

The president says membership numbers are down from the 1 million mark in 2012 and this means issues within the organisation need to be addressed.

ZUMA GETS POSITIVE RESPONSE

Zuma received a relatively positive response from members and delegates during his opening address.

There's been a strong sense of unity among ANC branches.

The president greeted his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa on stage overlooking the kaleidoscope of yellow.

Most people are wearing ANC embroided t-shirts made especially for this NGC.

When talking about how stable the party is, Zuma only received a few claps from the crowd.

But he then moved on to the ANC's influence.

Zuma says the NGC is about reflecting on the achievements and challenges the ruling party faces.

He says the focus on state owned enterprises at the ANC's national general council will yield results.

Radebe also says the ANC is in a better position to have policy discussions now than it was in its last NGC five years ago.

"There is much more discipline in the ANC than it was five years ago. The challenges we face will encourage all of us to assume that courageous leadership."