Ronald Lamola not willing to 'wait his turn' in the ANC leadership queue
Ronald Lamola is not prepared to “wait his turn” in the ANC leadership queue and is pressing ahead with plans to contest for the deputy president position when the party holds its elective conference in December.
Lamola, an ANC NEC member and minister of justice and correctional services, is among a raft of party leaders intending to raise their hands for the second most powerful position in the party at the conference.
He told a youth month rally in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga on Saturday he is being told, even by opposition parties, that he is too young to get a position in the top six of the ANC and that he must wait his turn.
We are also told that we must wait in this queue. It means that we are going to wait forever because all those that came before us are still waiting in that queue and there is no hope that they will one day make it to the other lineRonald Lamola, ANC NEC member
However, he said, there were many ANC “young lions” who have waited in perpetuity for their turn, including Fikile Mbalula and Malusi Gigaba, and who may not even have a chance to make it to the higher echelons of power in the party.
Lamola told those gathered at the ANC-organised event he was not willing to do that.
“If you are told that you are skipping the queue, the organisation is losing a good energy and a good resource because you can wait forever in that queue,” Lamola said.
“We are also told that we must wait in this queue. It means that we are going to wait forever because all those that came before us are still waiting in that queue and there is no hope that they will one day make it to the other line.”
Lamola also hit back at EFF leader Julius Malema who earlier this year said the minister was jumping the leadership queue as there was a generation of Youth League leaders who came before him who should be vying for positions in the ANC top six before he can start considering it.
“So we must refuse to be told to wait even by the opposition because the opposition, like the EFF, when they tell us to wait it is so that the ANC does not have access to the most immediate resource — young and energetic, educated and orientated in the social class of our people,” Lamola said.
“They want to continue to remain relevant and retard the liberation movement. So we must not allow that, even within our ranks we must not allow that jealousy, even that kind of thinking to come and infuse some level of factionalism.”
Lamola said social ills facing the youth today required the very same young people to deal with them as they can introduce new and fresh ideas.
“You are the most experienced with today’s challenges, the challenges of HIV and Aids, unemployment and many social ills that you are facing. You must not be told by anyone that you are not experienced to resolve them. You are the better ones to resolve these challenges.”
Lamola received a warm welcome at the event in his home province and was endorsed by members of the party provincial executive committee (PEC) in attendance.
At its elective conference in April, the newly elected leaders made it clear the province would want to retain the position of deputy president currently held by David Mabuza who hails from Mpumalanga.
It appears now that they would back Lamola as Mabuza has lost popularity in the province and seems unlikely to clinch a second term as deputy president.
Lamola will, however, battle it out with other ANC leaders who have shown interest in the position, including treasurer-general Paul Mashatile and NEC members Mmamoloko Kubayi, Jeff Radebe, Thandi Modise and Vuyiswa Tulelo.
Meanwhile, ANC PEC member and Mpumalanga premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane said: “This is not what you want, you didn’t say to us ‘I want to be the deputy president’. We want to tell you that as Mpumalanga we want you to stand as the deputy president of the ANC.
“We will rally behind you in making sure that we realise our dream. If you fall we will fall with you, if you rise we will rise with you but rest assured we will do everything in our powers to make sure that you are sent to that position where you will be representing young people.”
Support independent journalism by subscribing to the Sunday Times. Just R20 for the first month.
Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.