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ANC in Gauteng says it’s not anti-Zuma

Gauteng Chairperson Paul Mashatile says the province has always dealt with issues on the basis of principle.

FILE: Gauteng ANC Provincial Chairperson Paul Mashatile. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - African National Congress (ANC) President Jacob Zuma, Gauteng chairperson Paul Mashatile and his deputy David Makhura, have called on members to take on the 'battle' as the party prepares to fight a war at the election poll this year.

The ANC leaders were speaking at the party's Provincial General Conference in Irene in Pretoria last night.

Mashatile began his address by dealing with the elephant in the room; Zuma and the Nkandla matter.

"When we in Gauteng pronounce on some issues, we are wrongly perceived to be anti-Zuma. As the leadership of the ANC in Gauteng, we would like to be categorical that we're not against the president of the ANC."

Mashatile commended the Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) for its handling of the Nkandla ruling in the Constitutional Court, which accepted Zuma's apology but called on him to do the right thing.

Mashatile however said the province has always dealt with issues on the basis of principle, discussing issues openly without fear or favour.

"When difficult matters come to the fore, we do not bury our heads in the sand. Instead, we confront them - head on."

He said any person who disagrees with the PEC's view on the Nkandla matter should come forward at the conference this weekend.

'DEAL WITH THE ENEMY DECISIVELY'

While the Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) aim to take power from the ANC in the province, the governing party says it has no doubt it will be victorious in the local government elections.

Zuma, Mashatile and Makhura have described this year's elections as a battle, calling on members to 'deal with the enemy decisively' and 'defend Gauteng at all costs'.

Mashatile called on party members to mobilise the public to create a better life for all.

Zuma said the party should act like an army that never sleeps, with a superior military plan to put down the enemy.

"The ANC is like soldiers with guns."

The president says the first weapon at the party's disposal is encouraging South Africans to use their power to vote.