TOKYO Sexwale has asked for his utterances not to be misconstrued, saying he was “not standing or running for anything, but I’m not running from anything”.
A member of the ANC’s national executive committee whose ambition to lead the party has often made headlines, Sexwale said former ANC leaders had come from Dube, Soweto.
“We’ve had many leaders of the ANC in Dube; AB (Alfred Bitini) Xuma and John Langalibalele Dube were from Dube,” he said, noting he too was from Dube, before adding, “and I mean, you’ll never know”.
Xuma moved to Dube in Soweto in 1959, where he died two years later. It is not clear when Dube, born in Natal, resided in Soweto.
Sexwale was speaking after making a statement on leadership change and was careful to add that it should not be reported that he was referring to Mangaung.
“Change comes with new ideas and when you’re a leader, don’t stand in front of new ideas, otherwise new ideas will remove you.”
Sexwale was delivering a memorial lecture in honour of Xuma, the ANC’s sixth president, in Alexandra yesterday.
This was the second Xuma lecture after ANC president Jacob Zuma’s talk on Friday, at which he too had an indirect dig at Sexwale. Without mentioning Sexwale by name, Zuma said members should not merely elect people to lead the party because they were rich.
Zuma visited Xuma’s old house in Sophiatown shortly after declaring his grave at the Brixton Cemetery, Joburg, a national heritage.
The house was one of the two houses that survived destruction during the 1955 forced removals.
In Alexandra, Sexwale spoke of how youthful leaders such as Nelson Mandela had approached Xuma, asking for a change in Struggle tactics and to let them defy racial practices.
He said Xuma was “trapped in the old style of fighting”, adding that he was told by the youth that if he did not “want change, we’ll ask for your removal”.
A biography on the ANC website said “by 1949, Xuma was found to be too slow and moderate and was replaced by Dr JS Moroka” as the president.
Sexwale called for the youth to be given an ear. “Our youth league must be our youth league… if they seek attention, we must listen to them,” he said.
Sexwale said Xuma, “one of the (ANC’s) emblematic leaders”, had brought equality to the ANC.