Johannesburg - Members of the ANC’s Veteran’s League have been told to stop distancing themselves from the ruling party’s challenges but rather guide its leaders in the right direction.

This message formed part of ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe’s address to the stalwarts on the first day of their inaugural conference held at the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg. 

“The Veteran's League Conference is not immune to factions. You can't be immune. Once you are organized, you must mitigate against these factions," Mantashe told the more than 300 registered delegates from nine provinces who were joined by 300 other members and guests.

He said the two-day conference had to create a structure where veterans have a platform, are able to express their views and help the ANC. 

Mantashe, who spoke after it emerged that President Jacob Zuma would no longer attend owing to presidential duties outside the country, called on the League to be an authoritative organisation rather than one with voting power.

“Veterans League must guide every structure of the ANC when there are problems,” Mantashe said adding the veterans could not behave as a counter force but must lead efforts of finding elections.

He called on the League to be premised on integrity saying veterans were not only selected to join the movement because of their age but qualified to be part of the organisation.

On his recent meeting with the South African Communist Party, Mantashe said he had maintained that: “The communist party cannot be adventurous. It can't be populist. It must be scientific because once we lose the scientific approach of the communist party, the crisis depends and it means all of us can do what we like,” he said.

He added: “Every revolution has its trials. We don't jump off the revolutions when it is going through tough times and rejoin when times are good. Veterans must be here when there are problems,” he said.

Pensioner Maleshoane Jacob from Ward 19 in Kimberly said she has travelled to the conference to contribute to the debate and unify the movement.
“We cannot drag each other to court when there are problems. We must sort it out among ourselves,” she said

Actress and singer  Marah Louw who also attended the conference said: “We need to reduce the ANC. We need to admit to our mistakes. We cannot let the ANC die.”

The conference ends on Sunday. 

Political Bureau