He said the outcome of the municipal elections was not just a “strategic loss” but a “strategic retreat” and that they will head into the next elections “re-energised”.
“But we’ll be naive to say the electorate has not pointed out some limitations and gaps within the party itself,” he said. “And that’s the reason we believe if we start conference early, it will give us ample time to analyse the concern, not only diagnose the concern but provide relevant answers to the concern. So to have conference early is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength and most importantly is a sign to say the ANC is ready to acknowledge its limitations and to learn from its mistakes and weaknesses and reposition itself in a manner that assists us.”
Lesufi will lock horns with MEC for co-operative governance and human settlements Lebogang Maile when the party meets to elect premier David Makhura’s successor.
The conference is expecting 1,133 delegates from about 427 branches.
Lesufi said conferences of the ANC have become synonymous with fighting and an excessive focus on electing leaders instead of discussing important policy.
“It’s a culture we must discourage. When we meet after four or five years it must not be about who leads the organisation. It’s about where we find ourselves as a political party, the issues we need to attend to and the concerns of our constituencies,” he said.
Support independent journalism by subscribing to the Sunday Times. Just R20 for the first month.