Zuma: We must guard ANC jealously so not to tear ourselves apart

President Jacob Zuma also says members of the party can differ but they must engage each other respectfully.

President Jacob Zuma delivering his 8th January statement to ANC members at Orlando Stadium as the party marks its 105th anniversary. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – President Jacob Zuma says the African National Congress (ANC) is aware that people say the party comes across as too busy fighting one another to pay attention to their needs and has called for unity across the political spectrum.

Zuma also says members of the party can differ but they must engage each other respectfully.

The president has been delivering what should be his final 8th January statement, plotting the way forward for the ANC for the year.

In December, the governing party will elect a new leader.

Zuma says the ANC’s task is also to unite the tripartite alliance.

“To guard it jealously and not to tear ourselves apart. We also call for the unity of the South African people across the political spectrum.”

The president has told the thousands-strong crowd at the stadium that the ANC must learn from Tambo.

“President OR Tambo consistently emphasised the importance of having maximum political and organisational unity. We must draw lessens from this illustrious leader.”

INFIGHTING NEEDS TO STOP

Zuma says the people have told the party the in-fighting needs to stop and they need to grow the economy.

Zuma says the ANC has received a clear message.

“Our people have told us that we come across as too busy fighting one another and do not pay sufficient attention to their needs.”

In the full NEC statement released here it goes on to say that the party's own research shows people dislike the preoccupation with personal gain.

It goes on to say that the main aims of the ANC should be to grow the economy, create jobs and fight crime and corruption.

This public acknowledgement of internal problems in the ANC is almost unprecedented at an event like this and could set the tone for a strategy to try and reunited the party.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)