Tshidi Madia, News24
Paul Mashatile (Karabo Ngoepe, News24)
He said during his welcome address for the ANC’s Umkhonto We Sizwe liberation army, that it was not yet time for potential leaders to be mobilizing members behind their cause.
Several combatants braved the cold snap for a second MK National Council Assembly, where its steering committee would deliver a report following resolutions adopted at the previous gathering.
MK Council’s steering committee member General Mbuyiseni Mashoalo said eight provinces managed to make it to the event with only Bheki Cele, from KwaZulu-Natal making it to the assembly.
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This resulted in former combatants having to make their own plans to attend the event. Three-hundred members from KZN did not arrive.
Mashatile, who received applause for his comments, said it was important to be clear on the criteria which candidates needed to meet if they wanted to take up positions in the party’s top structures at the elective conference in December.
“I see there are already some people who have started campaigning, but we have not told them yet whether they meet the criteria, so they must wait,” said Mashatile.
Former African Union commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma’s campaign was one of the first to be launched, with the ANC Women’s League resolving that she was their preferred presidential candidate.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is another front runner in the race, has been crisscrossing the country speaking on leadership and the state of the party.
Mashatile said the party needed to tighten up the criteria of selecting leaders.
“If the ANC wants to survive it must listen to the people,” said Mashatile.
He said the party previously made decisions which had enjoyed popular support even outside the ANC.
Mashatile said the ANC needed to listen to those voices, even if they are outside of the 105 year old movement – warning that failing to do so would endanger the party.
“The ostrich days of the party are over. We must listen to society as a whole,” Mashatile said in reference to the myth that the birds bury their heads in the sand when threatened.
He also reiterated a call previously made for the liberation movement’s members to fight the “demon” and “cancer” which presented itself in the form of factionalism and slate politics.