ANC treasurer-general Dr Zweli Mkhize has called for the end to slate politics in the ANC and said it would be ideal for the party to have an uncontested elective conference.
Mkhize delivered a message from the national executive committee of the ANC to the special provincial general council at East London’s City Hall on Thursday afternoon.
He was nominated by the province as deputy president to Cyril Ramaphosa, who was in turn nominated to be the party’s next president by an overwhelming majority from the province’s branches – ahead of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Out of 527 branches in the Eastern Cape’s eight regions, 423 nominated Ramaphosa and only 61 nominated Dr Dlamini-Zuma.
Mkhize said the party’s two previous conferences – the Limpopo conference in 2007 and the Mangaung conference of 2012 – had been breeding grounds for factionalism and slate politics.
“Embarrassing as it may sound, we must confess, comrades, that some of us or most of us in the leadership are the product of slate politics. We have lived through it. And we must accept that is where we come from.
“This tendency has infested all levels of the organisation and, as a result, we have lost some of the best minds and credible leaders who could have played key roles in the ANC and the broader leadership of the alliance,” he said.
Mkhize said at the upcoming 54th national conference, which will be held in Nasrec in Johannesburg, the party needed to a take a decision to say, unequivocally, “slate politics ends here”.
The treasurer-general said those who were elected at the national conference should work with others even if they had different views and preferences. He also called on those whose preferred candidates did not succeed at the conference to accept the decision and respect the elected leadership.
“There should be no appeals. If you contest a position you must accept that delegates might agree to elect you or say, no,” he said.
He called on delegates to desist from singing derogatory songs about their opponents, wearing divisive T-shirts and making hand gestures to mock one other, in order to avoid the conference breaking down.
“We want to plead with you to be exemplary delegates to national conference. We must all take responsibility for a successful 54th conference. It’s up to us to make it run smoothly or to break it down. If we want fighting, it we will because we allowed it. The conference will be in our hands,” said Mkhize.
He said the process of uniting the ANC should start ahead of the conference.
“Let us not have an attitude of do or die, an attitude of my slate at all cost, an attitude of winner takes all. Rather lets have an attitude of a win-win solution. These other attitudes would be harmful to the unity of the movement.
“We should engage and negotiate leadership preferences and not just want to go to war on my slate. Let us debate and exchange ideas. At the end of it all it must be the ANC that wins because no one is bigger than the ANC,” Mkhize said, to loud applause from the East London City Hall packed with mainly Ramaphosa and his supporters.