‘Quality of leadership should take priority’

STAMP OUT FRENZY: The leadership of the ANC stalwarts announced at a press conference in Johannesburg yesterday they would, in the next three months, be meeting with ANC rank-and-file members and civil society.Picture: ANN7

A group of ANC stalwarts and veterans yesterday said the ANC’s leadership race was a high-stakes game that could determine the party’s fortunes in the 2019 general elections.

Speaking on behalf of the group of veterans who are signatories to the For the Sake of Our Future document, ANC stalwart and former cabinet minister Sydney Mufamadi said he hoped the theme of unity contained in the ANC’s January 8 statement could set the tone for a leadership tussle.

“We are hoping that it will go a long way towards addressing the issues of factionalism and perhaps it will begin to tamper with this frenzy about who should be president, because people need to be made aware that there is more at stake,” Mufamadi said.

He said that the ANC’s succession debate should focus more on the quality of leadership than the names of candidates.

“Those issues are more important than auditioning for positions. We are hoping that the depersonalisation of issues will help people realise there are more important things than coming to ANC events and processes with a single mindset of voting.”

Mufamadi’s comments come at a time when the ANC has been battling to contain its succession debate.

The ANC Youth League and the ANC Women’s League have not shied away from naming their preferred candidate to take over the reins of the party.

ANC veteran Frank Chikane said the stalwarts were gearing up for a meeting with the ANC’s top six on Monday, to officially state their reason for rejecting the party’s proposal that a national consultative conference be held two days before the policy conference.

“We are meeting with the ANC top six next Monday to talk about issues leading up to the national consultative conference,” Chikane said.

“Our position is to have the conference as early as it can happen.”

Chikane, making reference to the veterans’ programme of action for the next three months, said the stalwarts would be meeting with the ANC’s branches and structures as well as civil society.

“We will be arranging meetings with the leagues of the ANC, engagements with the leadership, engagements with the structures of the organisation,” he said.

“The processes leading up to the consultative conference are critical. They will determine the direction the ANC will be taking beyond that.”

ANC stalwart Murphy Morobe said the ANC needed to host an election conference with haste.

“The need is to emphasise out there the sense of urgency, not just for the party but also for the country as well,” he said.

Bonolo Selebano