‘Zuma cannot shoulder all the blame for ANC’s mistakes’

Reverend Frank Chikane says ANC leadership failed to deal with challenges around President Jacob Zuma.

ANC veteran Reverend Frank Chikane. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Reverend Frank Chikane says President Jacob Zuma can't shoulder all the blame for the mistakes made by the ruling party.

The African National Congress (ANC) veteran has released a document today that he had given to the party's leaders before the local government election, warning them that if changes were not made, the ANC could lose major metros.

Reverend Chikane says the ruling party has made a number of mistakes in recent years which has led to the loss of confidence in the organisation.

He says this doesn't mean that President Zuma should take all the blame.

"If I was president and I made a mistake, it depends on how the leaders deal with that matter. My view is that the leadership failed to exercise their leadership to deal with those challenges."

Chikane says this includes Nkandla and the firing of Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene.

But he says there is still time to press the reset button, if the ANC doesn't want to lose in a national election.

Meanwhile, the ANC has refused to respond to the document released by Chikane on his concerns about the party's future, and says it doesn't understand why he didn't speak to leaders directly.

Chikane says he supports the ruling party and wants to help correct the mistakes the party has made, but this means taking a stand against corruption and poor leadership.

The reverend says the soul of the ANC is under attack, not from external forces but from its own members and leaders.

Frank Chikane: The soul of the ANC is under attack

He says he raised his concerns last year and then finally met with the ANC leadership in March just before the elections.

The reverend says at first, he was reluctant to speak out against the party.

"None of the veterans should feel that they are not safe by saying the right things."

Chikane says it's up to members and young people specifically, to take a stand and change things within the organisation - or face losing a national election in the next nine to 14 years.

The ANC is holding the first day of its national executive committee meeting in Centurion, where it will analyse its loss of support in parts of the country.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe says it's unfortunate that the reverend didn't speak directly to leaders about his concerns.

"I don't want to exchange views with Reverend Chikane. It's unfortunate that he is sending you to tell us the message when he has access to us directly - he walks into Luthuli House anytime he wants to and I would have expected him to walk into Luthuli house, talk to us and explain what he thinks."