Zuma cautions against 'bargaining candidates' driven by material conditions

The president says the main cause of divisions within the ruling party have been caused by members wanting to improve their material conditions.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS

DLANGEZWA, KWAZULU-NATAL – President Jacob Zuma has cautioned against what he calls the “bargaining of candidates” between provinces and has called for members to be guided by the African National Congress (ANC) document “through the eye of a needle” when considering leaders.

The president says the main cause of divisions within the ruling party have been caused by members wanting to improve their material conditions.

Zuma has referred to the leaders of breakaway parties such as the United Democratic Movement, and Congress of the People, saying their reasons for leaving were not driven by ideological differences.

The President says part of the discussions at the KwaZulu-Natal provincial general council should include how to deal with members wanting positions to further their material ambitions.

“It is the material conditions that determine the consciousness.”

Zuma referred to a 1997 ANC conference where it was decided that the bargaining between provinces about which candidates will occupy particular positions would end.

This he says was done to prevent one region having influence over which contenders win during the nomination period.

The president has called for the “through the eye of a needle” to be read by all delegates.

OPEN TO DIFFERING VIEWS

ANC Treasurer General Zweli Mkhize says political education needs to be deepened so that members who didn’t grow up under apartheid aren't easily swayed by the enemy.

Mkhize has opened the three-day provincial general council at the University of Zululand. He says the organisation is under attack from the opposition, some of which he says is covert.

The ANC Treasurer-General has made a strong plea for unity in the province, saying divisions in KwaZulu-Natal have an impact in the party at a national level.

Mkhize says the party must be unified.

“The ANC is not a coalition of factions, the ANC is one organisation. It’s important for us to discuss where we’ve got a difference of views to a point where we’re ultimately able to say this is what best for the African National Congress.”

Meanwhile, with the KwaZulu-Natal ANC provincial general council (PGC) underway, both the Youth and Women’s Leagues have used it to re-affirm their support for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

NEC members Dlamini-Zuma, Mkhize and Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba are among the dignitaries at the University of Zululand.

The provincial ANC has said there are no plans to discuss the leadership race ahead of the elective conference in December.

But KZN ANC chair Kwazi Mshengu said young people in the province already know who they want to endorse.

“And I'm sure during the course of this PGC we’ll get the opportunity to lobby ANC structures to agree that in the national conference, among other leaders that we’ll elect those leaders must be led by comrade Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.”

This was followed by loud cheering and clapping.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)