ANC veterans' league 'has failed the party'
The ANC Veterans' League is under threat of being stripped of its role as custodian of the party's integrity following its criticism of the party leadership, and in particular of ANC president Jacob Zuma.
It emerged yesterday that the ANC would assess the veterans' contribution to enhancing the character of the party.
ANC head of policy Jeff Radebe said the veterans' league was meant to be "beyond reproach" and should not be involved in "any contestation" in the party.
The league's criticism of Zuma and of the party's disciplinary procedures earlier this month, and the league's role, will be discussed at the policy conference at Gallagher Estate, in Midrand.
A defiant head of the league, Sandi Sejake, said the veterans would continue to speak out.
On Tuesday, Zuma, referring to the veterans as the "custodians" of the party, said they should stay clear of controversy.
"You are there to help the organisation, not to deepen what is a controversial position."
Zuma criticised the veterans for not guiding the young.
Radebe, at a media briefing yesterday afternoon, said the role of the veterans was to uphold the integrity of the ANC and provide guidance when it faced challenges.
A resolution at the ANC national conference in Polokwane in 2007 stated that the ANC should make strategic use of the veterans to uphold the party's integrity.
In its organisational renewal document currently being debated by more than 3500 delegates at the Midrand conference, the ANC states: "We need to make strategic use of the veterans to reproduce and safeguard the history, traditions, culture and values of our movement.
"We also need to use veterans to address and manage internal problems and conflict that arise from time to time among those in leadership positions."
But the ANC is of the view that the veterans' league is a lost cause. A 2012 policy proposal says: "So far, the veterans operate just like the other two leagues, thus depriving our organisation of the reservoir of wisdom we sorely need to keep our movement focused on its primary mission of serving the people. The conduct of the veterans should inspire confidence among the rank and file of the ANC."
Earlier this month, Sejake criticised ANC leaders' reaction to the controversial Zuma painting The Spear. The ANC went to court to have the artwork removed from a Johannesburg gallery.
Sejake also criticised the ANC's handling of discipline, referring to ANC Youth League president Julius Malema's expulsion.
Sejake recently called for Zuma to be dumped at the ANC elective conference in December because of his ties to the Gupta family, who own New Age newspapers. He claimed Zuma had appointed ministers on instructions from the Guptas.
Sejake acknowledged yesterday that the veterans had not contributed enough to promoting the ANC, but said the party was not looking after the veterans' league, which was under-resourced and had no budget.
"Yes, we are not supposed to be like other leagues. We should stick out, but we are in limbo."
He was unapologetic about his earlier statements, saying the league would continue to speak out about corrupt individuals and those "up to dirty tricks", regardless of their position in the ANC.
"Many of the things some of our leaders are up to are demoralising the ANC."