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Here are the main highlights of his lengthy speech‚ which predominantly covered internal issues facing the organisation.
“I’m happy because I’m at the door of retirement. I’m an outgoing president in all respects. Therefore my major role of operation is going to be‚ among others‚ with the veterans.”
“Corruption in the private sector is as bad as that that is found in government and must be dealt with decisively by all [law] enforcement agencies. Corporate collusion is now a criminal offence punishable with 10 years in prison in terms of the new provision signed last year‚” Zuma said.
“Factionalism is the biggest threat to the organisation. It is because of factionalism that we have seen the emergence of splinter groups over the past 10 years‚ which negatively affected our movement quantitatively and qualitatively. Slate politics‚ another manifestation of factionalism‚ has cost us many capable members in who our movement has invested significantly‚” Zuma said.
“Ill-discipline has continued to afflict the ANC‚ which has taken a new form in the recent past‚ bordering on publicly challenging the authority of the organisation. There have also been worse incidents of ill-discipline where members openly side with and work with opposition parties and other formations that are hostile to the ANC‚ against the position adopted by the movement.”
Zuma called on the delegates to take decisive action in dealing with members who take the ANC to court. He reminded delegates that the ruling party had taken a decision that any member who takes the organisation to court‚ forfeited his or her membership. The failure to implement the resolution had resulted in more and more members taking the ANC to court.
“If we are satisfied with the decision we have taken before‚ let us take a decision to implement. If the leadership does not implement‚ then the leadership itself must face consequences. You could argue that as branches we gave you [leadership] an instrument in your hand‚ why are you not using it? I think it is important that we deal with this issue‚ so that we are out of courts‚” Zuma said to applause.
Zuma said it was an unpleasant sight for the ANC to watch its alliance partners marching with the opposition when they called for an ANC president to be removed. He was referring to calls that were made by Cosatu and SACP for him to resign.
Zuma said the Veterans’ League was not formed to cause problems within the ANC but give advice from their experience.
“It was never in the mind of the organisation that this vehicle could be used to further cause more problems within the organisation … And I will remind my comrades [in the Veterans’ League] that we should not defeat that purpose [which is] to help the movement.”
7. Red flag
He also warned that the decision of the SACP to contest elections independently in the municipal poll in Metsimaholo should not be taken lightly. The SACP took a decision to contest these elections independently‚ sending a message that there is a strong possibility that in the 2019 general elections‚ the ANC would not enjoy its support.
“The SA National Civic Organisation has become stale‚” Zuma said of community activism. He did not go into detail but asked the delegates to look into the matter.
Zuma also cried foul on the booing he endured during a May Day rally‚ where he was heckled to the point that he was not able to address the crowd. He described the conduct of the alliance partners in this regard as unacceptable.
He warned alliance partners that the relations between the ANC‚ Cosatu and SACP could not be based on individual attitudes. This was in response to the decaying of alliance relations‚ which has been at play since Zuma took over. Cosatu lost one of its biggest affiliates and it later called on him to step down.
11. And thank you
He concluded his speech by thanking the members of the ANC for giving him the opportunity to lead. He then told those who had disagreed with him while he was in leadership that he had no beef with them.
“I’m sure that there have been times where we did not agree. There may be times when I said things that you did not like. There may be times that comrades said things to me ... I want to say to all you comrades that I bear no grudge. You are my comrades‚ you were expressing your views ... I prefer those who express their views than those who don’t.”