Saul stressed that the ANC had the right to deploy or recall cadres as it saw fit.
He insisted that the reshuffle was done with “malicious intent to derail” the ANC provincial elective conference.
“It is wrong for any ANC deployee to take action, with huge implications to the Province, without consultation with the ANC. If there were honest motives, the ANC and broader alliance would have been thoroughly consulted. This is a matter the PEC (Provincial Executive Committee) must urgently attend to.”
Saul pointed out that the political atmosphere in the Province had been “polluted” almost a year ago when the leadership contest started.
“It is not unusual that any process leading towards an elective conference will be characterised by intense engagements on who should lead the organisation.”
He added that the outcome of the conference was binding, where members had to abide by the decision and respect the new leadership.
“What unites us as an organisation is our commitment to the decisions that we take on both policy and leadership matters.
“We need to build a strong, united ANC in the build-up towards the 2019 general elections. If we work harder and smarter, start our election campaign early, we can have an increased majority in 2019. Our target of a 70 percent election victory is achievable if we work as a united team.”
Saul stated that the Province had to adopt a principled approach towards electing the ANC national leadership.
“We must be informed by past practices that have rescued and helped the organisation when confronted with difficult questions of leadership.”
He also pointed out that there was a natural tendency for the deputy president of the party to assume the role of presidency when the term of an incumbent comes to an end.
“It caused a great deal of discomfort and anger among ANC members when Jacob Zuma became the president. The fierce contestation for leadership served to divide the movement. Since 1967 all presidents of the ANC, without exception, were first deputy presidents. This defines the general attitude of ANC members towards their deputy presidents. This attitude by ANC members towards their deputy presidents has always been expressed through democratic practices.”
Saul said that this would ensure a smooth transition when the president handed over his baton to his successor.
“ANC members select and elect honest leaders who have been tried and tested, grounded in the masses of our people. It is only when he (Ramaphosa) does not pass the test that we could be tempted to look for other contenders.”
Saul also offered to withdraw as provincial chairman, “at any time”, if the collective felt he was not serving their best interests.
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