African National Congress Treasurer General Zweli Mkhize has admitted that there might have been mistakes in handling some of the complaints from regions and branches timeously resulting to serious tensions in the party.
Mkhize, who is among those racing for the ANC’s top position, was speaking at a breakfast briefing in uMhlanga, north of Durban. He also said one of the primary tasks of the upcoming conference will be to dismantle factions and do away with the election of leadership based on slates.
Mkhize says the party’s national leadership might have failed to act decisively in resolving some of the complaints from the party’s lower structures.
However, in defence of the leadership, Mkhize said some of the issues are complex in nature and needed full cooperation from all affected groups.
In KwaZulu-Natal, the party is facing court litigation while some regions and branches leadership structures were either disbanded or have their powers stripped off, resulting to these structures appealing such decisions to the Luthuli House.
“I will also agree that there may have been less haste in dealing with one of the disbandment that happened earlier, not so much that we did not attend them, but in getting them to finality. There are provinces where regions were disbanded longer and we did not get to finality because of the complexity of the issues that are involved. Some of the matters are very complex and they require cooperation and willingness among all sides to help us to resolve so that when we get to the conference we don’t have some much outstanding issues.”
Mkhize also admits that the ANC’s 2007 Polokwane conference brought factionalism and slate politics which he says is now haunting the party’s core values today.
He also admits having been among leaders who were at the front of hatching slate politics.
“However, my major regret is that we entrenched a lot of slate politics, and I can always say that I was at the centre of it. I was there and for that reason, I feel very strongly that this time around really, we must go and dismantle this thing. I feel very strong because I think that for ten years we have had a kind of culture developing that we knew was not necessarily part of ANC culture and if there is anything that I hope could be a dream is to actually ensure that that the leadership that emerge out of this conference do not resemble any factional slate list.”
The ANC Treasurer General has also emphasised the importance of party members and those contesting for positions to accept the outcome of the ANC’s National Elective Conference regardless of who is elected at the conference.
“At the end of the day, the ruling of the conference is supreme. Everybody has to accept what the conference decision is, and there is no way that you can get to be interested in being elected unless you can prove clear transgression. You have to accept the ruling of the conference. As far as the ANC is concerned this is an internal process. The branches will pronounce themselves and those who make themselves available will actually be voted on and will to accept the voting as the final say that the branches and the delegates (have) on who becomes the next leader.”
Mkhize says he is yet to accept the nomination after nomination processes have been concluded, but in the event that he is not elected as President, he is willing to work with anyone.