Bloemfontein - While ANC president Jacob Zuma on Tuesday called for unity following the leadership battle that caused deep divisions in the ANC, some in the party called on him to use his second term to accelerate service delivery and fix the ANC.
Addressing delegates shortly after his second term as party president was confirmed, Zuma said it was important to move beyond the election and unite the party.
He said it would not be good for the party if members who had backed deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe were to be sidelined because of their preference before the Mangaung conference.
Zuma was elected to a second term with 2 983 votes to the 991 cast for his challenger, Motlanthe.
There were two spoilt papers and there was one abstention.
Zuma’s sentiments were met by wild cheers from the delegates and reiterated by most leaders.
According to Zuma, contests for leadership positions in the ANC were part of the democratic processes of the party.
“You have to be careful about how you treat one another,” he said.
“You can’t find a situation where after the elections of officials and additional members, members who were exercising their democratic right must feel that they are outside the organisation.
“No one must feel so.
“We begin here to address the fundamental principles of the ANC, the unity of the party.
“I’m saying this because from now on we must realise that the national conference has spoken and all of us are part of that decision.”
Zuma said the new leadership of the ANC must preside over a united ANC.
National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) general secretary Irvin Jim said Zuma must ensure that the ANC implemented radical economic policies to transform the country’s economy and to improve the lives of the majority.
“Zuma has taken full responsibility to forge unity in the party, and that is great because things change in an organisation,” Jim said.
“But as we go into commissions we must make sure that as workers we influence the policy direction of the ANC.
“President Zuma must ensure that in his second term at the helm of the party we must pursue economic policies that will change the lives of the majority and benefit them economically.
“It cannot be right that the country has so many minerals yet people are still poor and our minerals are being taken abroad without any benefit for the majority.”
Peace Ntuli, a Zuma backer from the Northern Cape, said Zuma’s victory meant he needed to implement ANC policies vigorously, improve service delivery and fire ministers and public servants who performed poorly.
“The issue of talking and talking must come to an end,” Ntuli said.
“There must be a very clear message to anybody who does not perform, including those ministers. They must be fired.
“We should also look at Section 139, whereby the national government can’t intervene in a province.
“A minister can’t tell an MEC what to do. If you look at the issue of Limpopo textbooks, the minister couldn’t do anything because she does not have powers.
“We need to change that, so we can hold the minister accountable.”