ANC leadership urged to unite following Luthuli House meeting

ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa says ANC members are looking at the party’s top six leaders for guidance during this difficult time.

A police armoured vehicle is parked outside the ANC headquarters in Johannesburg. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The African National Congress (ANC) has called on its top six leaders to unite and work out their differences in order to properly lead party members.

The top brass gathered at Luthuli House on Monday in a meeting that went over time, forcing them to postpone a national working committee meeting to later on Tuesday.

The leaders met for the first time since President Jacob Zuma reshuffled his Cabinet, a move that angered some officials in the top six who publicly expressed their unhappiness with the president’s decision.

ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa says ANC members are looking at the party’s top six leaders for guidance during this difficult time.

“So it’s important that we’ve got to make sure that at the end of the day, there’s clarity, there’s uniformity to help the organisation, there must be unity.”

He says providing guidance means the top six leaders who have publicly criticised each other, must start speaking in one voice.

“And they must emerge with one voice that will unite the leadership and membership of the ANC.”

Kodwa says the ANC top six meeting continued beyond its scheduled time because the leaders wanted to clarify themselves first before attending Tuesday’s National Working Committee meeting to provide leadership.

Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza has accused three of the ANC’s top six leaders for speaking out against President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle, saying they’re ill-disciplined and must remember they are not presidents.

Mabuza was speaking at an ANC rally in Mpumalanga on Sunday.

“You can’t hang your dirty linens out there. Whom are you trying to appease?”

Mabuza is not pleased with ANC deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize and Secretary-general Gwede Mantashe’s utterances on Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle.

“I don’t think they’re setting a good example. We’re working hard here on the ground to unite the ANC and I see they’re working hard to divide the ANC.”

Mabuza said if the three leaders have unresolved issues they must discuss them within ANC structures.

“It’s not interesting to hear them differing in public, it doesn’t make us [look] good, it doesn’t.”

On Sunday, ANC chair Baleka Mbete also criticised them, saying party members don’t appreciate it when leaders speak in different voices.

Meanwhile, NEC member Tito Mboweni has tweeted that he call for a special meeting with the committee to discuss recent developments.

ZUMA UNFAZED BY CRITICS

Meanwhile, also over the weekend, Zuma was in Pietermaritzburg where it appears the leader of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal Sihle Zikilalala gave him his support.

The audience here seemed unfazed by Zuma’s recent Cabinet reshuffle and instead sang his praises after launching the biggest housing project in the country.

Analysts have often commented on how the president usually goes to his home province when facing political challenges.

But Zikalala, who was speaking in his capacity as acting KwaZulu-Natal premier, says leaders must know that their tenure is never everlasting.

The president was joined by Mkhize, who had earlier released a statement saying the unorthodox manner in which Zuma reshuffled his Cabinet did not afford the top six the chance to give their input, which indicates that the party is no longer the political centre.

ZWELI MKHIZE NOT HAPPY

Mkhize said he’s concerned about the process followed and the manner in which this Cabinet reshuffle was done.

He said this consultation process is to allow the leadership to take collective responsibility for decisions that are made.

Ramaphosa also has concerns.

“My strong objection to the removal of the Minister of Finance and his deputy is being based on spurious allegations.”

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said he feels uncomfortable about these developments.

“We were given a list that was complete, this list has been developed somewhere else.”

The reshuffle has sparked a face-off between half of the ANC’s top six and Zuma who have distanced themselves from his choices and the revolt may intensify this week with a number of demonstrations planned.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)