Zuma makes his pitch to KZN party cadres
PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma yesterday gave final instructions to ANC members in KwaZulu-Natal ahead of the watershed 53rd national elective conference in Mangaung.
Gauteng party chairman Paul Mashatile told his executive committee to speak with one voice in Mangaung. He has called for a leadership change.
Zuma is expected to retain his position but his deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe, is likely to be replaced by businessman and senior party member Cyril Ramaphosa.
Zuma's speech to the KwaZulu-Natal "cadres' forum" was made as party members across the country put the final touches to their Mangaung planning.
KwaZulu-Natal provincial chairman Zweli Mkhize said that Zuma had been invited to speak at the forum so that party members could interact with him freely.
"They have an opportunity to ask him questions before his term ends at the conference. As KwaZulu-Natal leadership, we want to thank him for his contribution as a leader of the ANC in the past five years. We are quite satisfied with the manner his leadership has led the party," Mkhize said.
Provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala denied that the KwaZulu-Natal party was leading a faction bent on ensuring that Zuma retained his position.
"We are not for slate politics [or] character assassination. We are not leading a factional group and are not going to the conference to block or oppose any view that is different from ours. But we will go there to make our humble contributions. At the same time, we are not apologetic about our view on who should lead," said Zikalala.
The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal wants strong cadres in senior positions and will not "engage in economic transformation haphazardly" at Mangaung.
KwaZulu-Natal, the biggest ANC province by numbers, Free State, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Mpumalanga and North West have all voted for Zuma to retain his position.
Gauteng, Western Cape and Limpopo want Zuma replaced by Motlanthe.
Yesterday, Gauteng's Mashatile reminded ANC members that they should be prepared to persuade other delegates to adopt their province's position. He said that meetings with provincial chairmen in this regard were proceeding well.
"I'm confident we will find each other and strengthen the ANC.
"I won't interfere with your right to speak but don't come there with something that you dreamt about.
"We must go to Mangaung and speak with one voice and we must articulate the same policy positions we agreed on," said Mashatile.