Former ANC president Jacob Zuma, at the height of his presidency, lashed out at former leaders of the ANC who criticised the party in public; among them, former president Kgalema Motlanthe. But three years after his term as the leader of the governing party, he’s found himself in the same boat as his comrades, who once slammed the tripartite alliance as weak.
At the 2015, now nullified, ANC KwaZulu-Natal provincial conference, Zuma lashed out his former ANC deputy Motlanthe for saying the alliance was dead. Zuma had defeated Motlanthe at the 2012 Mangaung elective conference, where he was re-elected as President.
“I read in the newspaper someone who has been respected for a long time and been in the leadership, saying the alliance is dead. People are exposing themselves that they are politically bankrupt. They are now sitting at home lonely, they left the ANC on their own and they were not chased out. They thought it’s is nice out there; it is cold out there. They are now beginning to throw stones at the ANC; criticise the party, criticise Cosatu criticise the ANC,” Zuma said at the conference.
He went further to say if former leaders said the alliance was dead, they must also shoulder the blame.
“And these comrades were part of the leadership; some of them were Secretary-Generals…You can only say the ANC is weak; they weakened it when they were in the leadership of the ANC. Why is it now that they have wisdom and everything when they are sitting out there? When they were here, we didn’t see that wisdom. Others are pastors; they must leave politics and go preach at the church.”
Zuma’s unwritten rule; when your term ends, do not criticise those who are elected.
“Because if you are out of the ANC for whatever reason, keep quiet. In fact, the unwritten rule is that when you are out, don’t criticise those who come after you because those who come after you should not criticise those who are in front. It’s a simple; a, b, c, d kind of politics and these people who are leaders don’t understand it. A person is all over the papers alliance is dead; yeer yesis. They must sit and keep quiet.”
However, Zuma broke his own rule; criticising the ANC leadership after his crushing defeat at the 2017 Nasrec Elective Conference.
“The new leadership was looking at the leadership of the ANC differently from the culture of the ANC. It was un-ANC; not at all helping the ANC to grow but making them learn how to fight amongst themselves etc. That behaviour leading up to Nasrec and after Nasrec was un-ANC. No ANC culture in it whatsoever; un-ANC.”
In the build-up to the ANC 2007 Polokwane Conference, Zuma used SACP and Cosatu platforms to propel him to the Presidency. Zuma also said the alliance was in a disastrous state, almost echoing Kgalema Motlanthe’s comments; the man he had rebuked for doing so.
“The alliance became weaker and weaker because what I have narrated a long story; what counts is consciousness and honesty. The alliance in my view at this point in time is at its weakest.”
The tripartite alliance has over the years been embroiled in intense battles and called for Zuma’s removal.
But now, the former president says, the alliance doesn’t exist in practise.
“The alliance itself at times just exists in name. Even when they meet, the kind of issues they are discussing leave a lot to desired.”
In direct criticism in Zooming with the Zumas, the former ANC President says money won the day at the watershed conference that elected Cyril Ramaphosa as party President.
In the video below, Zuma backtracks on his word on the ANC leadership: