Johannesburg - ANC bigwig Jackson Mthembu has lashed out at opposition leader Helen Zille, saying she is jealous of Jacob Zuma's re-election to the helm of the ruling party.
“Remarks made by... Zille about the re-election of comrade President Jacob Zuma are nothing but political jealousy inspired by malicious desperation to have the same support enjoyed by the ANC in this country,” he said.
“The nature of the remarks... exposes Zille's personal hatred of the ANC in her clumsy attempt to clamber the media attention given to the ANC conference.”
Her comments attempted to undermine the right and responsibility of ANC members to elect leaders to any positions of the movement, he said.
Earlier, Zille said the ANC's national conference election results would hasten the “disintegration” and collapse of the ruling party.
“Many ANC members and many more ANC voters are feeling alienated by today's decision in Mangaung.”
She believed it was a sad day for South Africa because Zuma's re-election sent out a message that the ANC was a movement that put “powerful people” above the law.
She was referring to Zuma's previous legal battle against corruption allegations, resulting from the fraud conviction of his former financial advisor Schabir Shaik.
In April 2009, the National Prosecuting Authority dropped the charges against Zuma, just months before he was elected into the country's top post.
Zille said Zuma's re-election also sent a message that “it is acceptable to use positions in government for personal enrichment, and not for public service”.
She was referring to a multi-million rand upgrade at Zuma's Nkandla home.
The Western Cape premier stressed that Zuma's lack of leadership on major policy questions would continue “as will the corruption and abuse of public resources that has so far characterised his time in office”.
Mthembu hit back, saying citizens should regard her remarks as acts of political despondency “with no political content.”
“Sadly, her statement is anchored on abundant false and wrong allegations against the president, the ANC and government,” he said.
“From the conference, the ANC will implement resolutions to help us attend to the all the challenges faced by the organisation and the country.”
Jackson said the depth of engagement in the party's commissions would produce political thinking that would “pace and shape” the country.
“We don't worry ourselves with whatever the DA and Helen say – we are more concerned about improving our performance, attending to challenges contesting our ability to deliver and lead society.
“While she takes a political tarry of jealous proportions, the ANC continues with the business of (the) conference, as matters being discussed are central in building better communities.” - Sapa