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Lamola shows his hand, saying the ANC was more effective when young people occupied leadership positions

06 June 2022 - 20:55 By ANDISIWE MAKINANA
ANC NEC member Ronald Lamola says South Africans 'cannot replicate the indiscrimination of the past in any way'. File photo.
ANC NEC member Ronald Lamola says South Africans 'cannot replicate the indiscrimination of the past in any way'. File photo.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

 ANC NEC member Ronald Lamola has sent a strong signal of his intention to contest the deputy presidency of the ANC at its elective conference in December.

Lamola is touted as a possible candidate to unseat incumbent David Mabuza when the party elects new leaders later this year.

Addressing the Walter Sisulu memorial lecture hosted by the ANC’s Ehlanzeni region in Mpumalanga on Sunday, Lamola reminded the gathering that Sisulu, together with Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo, assumed leadership roles in the ANC from a young age. 

He specifically mentioned that Sisulu was 37 when he was elected secretary-general. Sisulu’s election as ANC SG was not only an important history lesson, it dismissed the myth that leadership was reserved for people of a particular age.

 “Today, if a 37-year-old stood up to assert a new vision and a new culture in the ANC, people, say wait your turn, or you are too young.

“The reality is that historically the ANC became highly effective when young people such as Walter Sisulu, Lilian Ngoyi and Tambo took the responsibility of leading this organisation after it had become moribund.”

Lamola is 38 and a known supporter of President Cyril Ramaphosa. He is also the minister of justice and correctional services.

Sisulu’s fearlessness, total dedication and formidable strategic and organisational abilities are recognised as being the main factors in transforming the ANC into a mass militant national organisation, Lamola said. 

His statements are viewed in some quarters as the launch of a campaign for Mabuza’s position.

The Ehlanzeni regions is historically a stronghold of Mabuza, whose future as ANC deputy president is uncertain.

Lamola said the ANC needed a careful transition to a new generation of leaders and thinking.

“A failure to transition will delay the necessary shift we have to make to realise our mission.

“Our inability to be deliberate in the manner in which we pass the baton from one era to another distracts us from concerning ourselves with the problems of society.”

The ANC will hold its national elective conference in Johannesburg in December.

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