January 8 needs to affirm ANC’s unity: Expert

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The African National Congress needs to effectively utilise its January 8 celebrations to affirm a strong sense of unity within the party, following its many challenges in 2015.

This is according to Political Analyst, Professor Sipho Seepe.

The ruling party will hold its 104th anniversary celebrations, coinciding with the January 8 Statement at Rustenburg in the North West on Saturday.

The ANC was founded on 8 January 1912 and for many years, the occasion of this anniversary was marked with the release of a major statement for the forthcoming year by the National Executive Committee.

During the height of the apartheid era, such statements mapped out the main activities for the year ahead and usually named the year with these tasks in mind.

This tradition has been maintained since the first democratic elections in 1994.

Seeps says 2015 was a turbulent year for the ANC.

Sharp criticism was levelled against President Jacob Zuma on issues such as Nkandla and the removal of former finance minister, Nhlanhla Nene, from office.

He says the ANC needs to now focus on identifying threats and opportunities that could work in the party’s favour in a run to this year’s Local Government Elections.

“The ANC had a number of hurdles to navigate within the eyes of the media in the last year…but what is important is for the ANC to emerge in a united form. Members of the party also need to give a sense that they are behind the president because no party can go to elections with a weakened president.”

Seepe says he expects President Zuma to reiterate his sentiments on strengthening the visibility of party branches; as mentioned during his address last year in October at the party’s National General Council.

Seepe adds that the ruling party also needs to focus on strengthening its presence within various metropolitan areas.

These include those within Johannesburg, Tshwane and the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality.

Click on the audio below to listen to the full interview:

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