Zuma snipes at league
President Jacob Zuma used his visit to the birthplace of the late ANC president Oliver Tambo to consolidate his support in Eastern Cape by promising to bring development to the impoverished area.
He slated those who "compare themselves to Tambo when in fact they are rude" - apparently a swipe at the ANC Youth League.
Zuma was in Nkantolo village, in Bizana, yesterday as part of the commemoration of Tambo's birthday, October 27, organised by the ANC.
His visit followed the cancellation of an ANC Youth League rally in the same village. The rally was to have been addressed by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe on Saturday.
But Luthuli House, the ANC national head office, snubbed the league's request that Motlanthe speak in Bizana and instead approved Zuma's "deployment" yesterday.
At the OR Tambo Garden of Remembrance Zuma laid a wreath at the graves of Tambo's parents. He was accompanied by Tambo's sister, Gertrude, other Tambo family members, Eastern Cape Premier Noxolo Kiviet, and ANC Eastern Cape chairman Phumulo Masualle.
He told villagers that he had heard their plea for development and his government would honour its promises.
In talking about Tambo, Zuma said the party's longest-serving leader was such a great leader that everyone wanted to emulate him.
"The youth league built by Tambo, Madiba and [Walter] Sisulu had people who were deep thinkers who helped the organisation to fight and conquer the enemy.
"They changed the ANC with humility and respect. Others don't understand this and think that they can change things with force."
The youth league has accused the ANC leadership of sabotaging its planned rally because it did not want Motlanthe - whom the league wants to see elected as the next ANC president at the party's national congress in Mangaung in December - to visit the area.
On Saturday, league deputy president Ronald Lamola visited Tambo's family to tell them that Motlanthe would no longer be coming to Bizana because he did not want to be seen to be in "competition" with Zuma.
He had promised instead, said Lamola, that he would visit the village this weekend.
Lamola said Motlanthe told him that he could not attend the youth league event.
"He said he does not want to be seen to be in competition with President Zuma and does not want to do anything that will bring confusion to the members of the ANC and society," said Lamola.
Motlanthe attended the opening of the OR Tambo National Heritage Site, in Boksburg, on the East Rand.