Chairman of the African National Congress in Mpumalanga, David Mabuza, said achieving unity within the organisation was more crucial than it had ever been.
Mabuza was speaking at the Provincial Executive Council of the ANC in Hazyview this weekend. The cracks on the wall started to develop on the wall, in 2007 already – at the 52nd National Conference of the African National Congress.
However, the consequences are only really starting to be felt now, following the party’s performance at the 2016 Local Government Elections. While the ANC is still by far the most supported political party in the country, its support in urban areas appears to be dwindling.
Mabuza said the party could no longer ignore the divisions that had emerged in the party. The dominance of the party in a province like Mpumalanga is not as overwhelming as it once was either. The concerns are grave.
“The biggest challenge that we were dealing with was the candidate selection process,” said Mabuza.
“We laid down a process: there must be a screening committee; you must allow people to choose leaders; and finally, the community must sit and pronounce itself. But branches of the ANC did not follow the procedure to the letter, and in certain instances, the branch secretary was interested in being a councillor, or the chairperson was interested in being a councillor… and the branch collapsed,” added Mabuza, illustrating just how toxic looking out for personal interests was.
In the aftermath of those Local Government Elections, there have been many calls for President Jacob Zuma to take responsibility for the outcome. However, Mabuza does not think that is in the best interests of the organisation, nor does he think it prudent to hold an early elective conference.
“It is unfair to ascribe and want to attribute all our problems to one person – this, comrades know very well.
“It is a wrong impression that we want to give, and if you hate Zuma, Zuma was elected as the President of the ANC. We are not going to change our view until the next conference, and we are not going to be persuaded to go to an early conference. We are going to deal with our problems, conferences will come and conferences will go… and this is not the last conference in the life of the ANC,” added Mabuza.