Mantashe urges ANC members to avoid divisive behaviour ahead of 2017 conference

The ANC Secretary General says divisions will tear the African National Congress movement apart.

FILE: ANC Deputy Secretary General Jessie Duarte (left) and ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe at the party's special National Executive Committee meeting on 19 May 2014. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Gwede Mantashe has called on ANC members to avoid divisive behaviour as the party heads to its elective conference next year, saying divisions will tear the movement apart.

Mantashe was addressing ANC members in Mahikengin the North West yesterday.

His visit forms part of the political education program ahead of the party’s elective conference.

His deputy, Jessie Duarte, visited the Western Cape.

Mantashe says this past weekend was the start of many visits to the party’s regions by ANC leaders, to teach members about the principles of selecting leadership for the movement.

“Taking members of the ANC through the basic documents of the ANC, particularly documents that are very specific on the selection of leadership.”

He says this is done with the aim of unifying the organisation as it advances towards the conference next year.

“To work for unity and ensure that we don’t get into destructive contestations to conferences.”

Mantashe says it’s important that there is agreement on principles before consensus on names and says those elected must stand up for these principles.

CAMPS STARTING TO FORM

The governing party says it will elect its new leaders in December 2017, and some of its structures have already indicated who they want to lead the organisation.

The ANC Women’s League and Youth League have indicated they want a female president to succeed President Jacob Zuma, with the name of the outgoing African Union Commision chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma being bandied around.

The party says the political education programme is done with the aim of unifying the organisation as it advances towards the elective conference.

At the same time, some unions affiliated to Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) want Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to be the next leader.

The Communications Workers Union (CWU) says some of its members believe if Zuma would step down, the ANC could be rebuilt as a stronger organisation.

The National Health Education and Allied Workers Union (Nehawau) became the first member of the Tripartite Alliance to call for Zuma’s axing.

The union is currently having discussions on who should be the next president of the ANC.

The CWU’s President Clyde Mervin says, “Already some of the members are of the view that he must step aside so that we can rebuild a strong ANC, rebuild a strong Cosatu, so that when the alliance is united the country will forward in a different direction.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)