Reverend Frank Chikane. Picture: THE TIMES
Reverend Frank Chikane. Picture: THE TIMES

ANC veterans were focused on issues afflicting the organisation rather than on who should succeed President Jacob Zuma at the end of 2017, a party stalwart said on Tuesday.

The ANC is trying to quell public discussions or endorsements of preferred candidates for leadership positions ahead of its elective conference in December. Recent pronouncements by the ANC Women’s League and Cosatu have indicated that the race for the ANC presidency is likely to be between outgoing African Union chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The veterans believed the ANC’s trajectory had to change.

"People need to be made to realise that there is more at stake than just deciding who should be the president of this organisation," former minister and party stalwart Sydney Mufamadi said.

"We took up the cudgels on behalf of an ANC … which brought us up on the basis of certain principles and values from which we have witnessed over a period of time a deviation. Those are issues that are more important than auditioning for leadership," he said.

The party veterans wanted people to realise that there were more important things than attending an ANC event or process with the single-minded objective of voting, he said.

Mufamadi, referring to a purported top-six and national executive committee list, published in The New Age newspaper on Tuesday
and reported to be the slate for the Ramaphosa camp, warned against those who were trying
to ensure that the ANC remained divided.

"We don’t know whether those lists are generated by people who actually exist or sometimes … it may happen that some of these lists may be generated by people who may want to see a persistence in infighting and things like that.… Until someone owns up and says, this is my list, it’s not possible for us to just say all these things are being generated from within," he said.

According to insiders in the party, the list was meant to cause a diversion. It had been circulating in some provinces for "some time".

The ANC Gauteng deputy chairman and premier David Makhura, whose name appeared on the list for the position of secretary-general, condemned the "continuing malicious circulation" of lists.

"I detest the politics of slates and strongly condemn divisive activities that undermine the effort to build a united ANC that serves the people," Makhura said. The veterans will be returning to Luthuli House next Monday to meet the ANC’s top six leaders for more discussions on issues as well as the consultative conference.

ANC veteran Frank Chikane said their stalwarts’ decision to get involved had nothing to do with benefiting a certain faction.

"The ultimate outcome is a movement that will serve the interest of the people and that the leaders who get elected
are not elected to pursue the interest of those factions which elected them, but will be
elected by members who have interests in the future of
the country," he said. With Natasha Marrian

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