‘Don’t let leadership issues overshadow principles’

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vavi dec 11

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Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. File photo: Oupa Mokoena

Johannesburg - Greed, self-accumulation, marginalisation of the poor and factional interests.

These were the biggest threats to the survival of the ANC - and if delegates at the party’s elective conference in Mangaung at the weekend were not careful, the party could sink deeper into a state of disrepair.

This is according to Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, speaking on Thursday at the release of the union’s federation’s booklet on Mangaung.

“In relation to the ANC, delegates need to ask what interventions are required to ensure a leadership which is uncompromised and is primarily driven by its desire to address the needs of the people, an ANC which operates in a democratic and accountable manner and takes responsibility for transformation. Failure to do this will mean that the organisation is constantly held hostage by different groupings who are using the movement as a vehicle for personal accumulation.”

In light of incidents of violence punctuated by intimidation tactics and court battles, Vavi warned delegates against being caught in the trap of being so consumed by leadership issues that policy debates would be sidelined.

The dire results of this would be incidents where matters of principle were compromised for the politics of power and patronage.

“We all agree that the national conference at Mangaung cannot be business as usual. Our broad movement and the country are demanding a clear message of change. Conference cannot devote its main energy to a leadership contest for the top six. Leadership discussion needs to take place in the context of these transformation imperatives and holistic discussion on leadership aimed at ensuring the capacity to meet the challenges of this period,” Vavi said.

He said delegates should also remember resolutions of the party’s policy conference, which highlighted the need for “the return of the ANC to the mass line... the urge to serve the people as opposed to parasitic politics informed by factionalism”.

“This is not the first time structures of the movement have recognised these challenges. The 50th anniversary of the ANC in Mahikeng in 1997 discussed these challenges at length, noting how leadership of the ANC is increasingly perceived as a stepping stone to powerful positions in the state,” he said.

Vavi also touched on conflict-of-interest issues, saying “public representatives cannot be public servants and business people at the same time”.

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