African National Congress (ANC) presidential hopeful and the party’s current National Treasurer, Dr Zweli Mkhize, says he is against naming his preferred leadership team, should he be elected as the party’s president in December. This comes after another contender, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, announced his team over the weekend.
Addressing the Cape Town Press Club, Mkhize says if this practice is allowed to prevail, it will entrench the status quo of slate politics and end up making conferences to elect the leadership a futile task.
Mkhize says his first task would be to bring unity to the party if he gets elected. He told members of the Cape Town Press Club that since the day he accepted the nomination, he has been preaching the idea of collective responsible leadership.
“That we have to restore credibility and those of us who have put up their hands to stand for leadership position must be prepared to lead. They must also be prepared to lead with others and they must also be prepared to be led.”
The recent pronouncement by Ramaphosa of his preferred team did not sit well with the ANC General-Secretary Gwede Mantashe.
In a statement on Monday, Mantashe vehemently criticised Ramphosa’s utterances, saying the party’s 2015 National General Council outlawed slate politics and affirmed the role of branches in electing their preferred leadership.
Mkhize says he does not have a dream team in mind, and he does not intend to have one.
“No, I do not believe you should have a dream team. You know the process is very straight forward. We go to conferences. You can either be elected or you elect. So, if it was very easy, there would not have been a need for conferences. You know, we must always be ready to lead with those who have been elected to lead with us and that is how I see the matter.”
However, Mkhize says he would have no qualms in working with any member who is legitimately elected to the leadership.
“At a personal level, I can lead with anybody. I do not have a restriction of a type of personality that when once when we have to lead I cannot handle them, that is a personal statement. So, I also believe that the ANC has a very wide-range of capable leaders and all of them can be moved to a particular position and if I were to work with them, I am quite comfortable that we can achieve what we need to achieve.”
Mkhize says his part in the creation of slate politics at the ANC elective conference in Polokwane in 2007 is still haunting him.
“I have said that I express my regret about the role we have played as we are leading the whole issue of slate politics in Polokwane. I was in the forefront and I have not denied that -but I think what I see as a lost opportunity is if we do not use the next conference and creating an environment where context of leadership is a process of creating the best but even if we disagree the capacity must be the one that determines.”