ANC top six are not robots, we cannot always agree: Jessie Duarte

23 October 2019 - 17:37 By ZINGISA MVUMVU
ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte has dismissed claims of disunity within the top six.
ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte has dismissed claims of disunity within the top six.
Image: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Peter Mogaki

ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte has slammed the "narrative" about the party's top six leaders not being united.

Duarte said the "persisting narrative" could not be further from the truth, adding that holding different views did not mean division.

She was addressing an ANC briefing on Wednesday to launch a campaign to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the watershed Morogoro conference in 1969.

The campaign kicks off on Thursday evening in Ekurhuleni with a lecture by ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile. ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver a memorial lecture on Sunday to "celebrate the importance of what happened 50 years ago," according to Duarte. 

Themed "walking in the footsteps of OR Tambo", Duarte said the event would assist the party to strengthen its renewal and unity project. She maintained that the governing party was more united than ever.

"We work together well as the top six of the ANC, but we are not robots and there are no six people who will always think the same every day. But we are guided by conference resolutions and policies and that is the central issue," she said.

"There is a narrative that talks to the fact that the ANC is not united, that says we have a Cyril Ramaphosa camp and [an] Ace Magashule camp. We say there is one ANC. There may be [a] difference of views, but we cannot ride on that narrative on a daily basis.

"We have policy on the Reserve Bank and whether or not people have views that might differ on the policy does not change the policy which remains. We encourage differing views because it does not mean there is disunity. We look [at] it as healthy debate."  

Duarte also touched on an ANC review of how the party selects and elects its members to positions of leadership, both in the government and the party. She said this was a work in progress, lauding the party in KwaZulu-Natal for having already reviewed all of its municipalities.

She added that the ANC is gravely concerned about private business wrestling power from elected officials deployed in the government by the ruling party.

"What is being problematic is when it becomes clear that the direction that a particular councillor or MP of the ANC is lobbying on behalf of a particular business. We are beginning to say we cannot go on like this," she said.

"Local government has to focus its attention on service delivery and it must happen fast."