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ANC remains the only hope for South Africans, Mashatile tells KZN conference

22 July 2022 - 20:47
ANC National Treasurer Paul Mashatile addressing the ANC KwaZulu Natal Elective Conference at Olive Convention Centre.
ANC National Treasurer Paul Mashatile addressing the ANC KwaZulu Natal Elective Conference at Olive Convention Centre.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

The ANC remains the only hope for South Africans who know no other home, ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile told the ANC KwaZulu-Natal provincial conference at the Olive Convention Centre in Durban on Friday.

This was precisely why, Mashatile said, many South Africans chose to stay at home instead of going out to vote for the opposition in the last national general and local government elections.

He stressed, however, that the ANC must immediately start campaigning for the 2024 national general election instead of waiting for the eleventh hour.

“As we prepare to undertake this work, let us be reminded that despite the decline in our recent electoral performance, as the ANC we remain the only hope for many South Africans — especially the poor and those confined to the margins of the economy and society.

“They look up to us to do the right things, and to provide decisive leadership in resolving the problems of our country. They do not want to see us fighting among ourselves. They are yearning for the return of the ANC they have always known — a renewed ANC. Comrades, we have a moral and revolutionary duty not to fail these South Africans.  They know of no other home. The ANC is their only home.”

Mashatile delivered his address in a seemingly volatile conference that effectively sent him a warning shot by insisting on singing ‘wenzen’ uZuma?’ (what has Zuma done?) as he took the podium.

Some of the more than 1,600 delegates were sending a message to Mashatile on their displeasure at how he handled the ousting of Zuma.

Mashatile led the charge in February 2018 when the party’s national executive committee (NEC) unanimously decided to recall Zuma as president to make way for Cyril Ramaphosa who had been elected ANC president just two months prior.

Mashatile was tasked with informing the ANC caucus in parliament to support a motion of confidence vote on Zuma should he not resign by the agreed deadline.

He also told a mining indaba at the time that Zuma had asked the ANC top six what the ‘transition’ they were talking about in convincing him to resign meant.

“We said to him, no you see, it’s the handing over power from you to Cyril but we’re managing that,” Mashatile told the indaba at the time.

The fact that our base simply stayed at home and did not vote for the opposition is somewhat encouraging. It is an indication that despite our weaknesses, both subjective and objective, the opposition in this country is not an alternative
Paul Mashatile, ANC treasure-general

These remarks are seemingly still uppermost in the minds of ANC KwaZulu-Natal members and are likely to cause a headache for Mashatile who is expected to campaign for the deputy president position at the ANC national conference in December.

Mashatile said it was encouraging that ANC supporters chose to stay at home instead of going out to vote for the opposition. This, he said, was proof that the party’s supporters had not given up on the ANC which is on a path to renewal.

“Although our traditional support base did not abandon us, by voting for the opposition, they were not energised enough to come out in large numbers to vote for us,” Mashatile said.

“The fact that our base simply stayed at home and did not vote for the opposition is somewhat encouraging. It is an indication that despite our weaknesses, both subjective and objective, the opposition in this country is not an alternative.”

He said the party’s supporters complain about an ANC that is only visible during elections.

To win the national general elections in 2024, the ANC must immediately start campaigning, Mashatile said.

“I say this because as the ANC we have a mammoth task ahead of us. We need to work hard to regain lost ground, especially in our key constituency areas. We must make it our mission to disappoint those that have already written the ANC’s obituary for 2024.

“Our task is not only to re-energise our base, but also to reach out to all the people of SA. We must take our campaign to every city, every dorpie, every village, every township, every street corner and every highway and by-way, every mosque, church, synagogue and place of worship, as well as every shop and factory floor.

“We must not only visit communities during elections. Neither should we seek to resolve the problems of the people at the time of elections. We must be proactive. We must maintain a permanent presence in and among our communities. We must speak the language of the people,” Mashatile said.

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