Cape Town. 120731. Tokyo Sexwale speaks at UCT. Picture Courtney Africa

Unity in the ANC is paramount, irrespective of who is elected to lead the party later this year, Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale has said.

ANC members who wanted to “pursue victory” at the party’s national conference in Mangaung in December should also consider what such a victory could cost a party watched closely by an electorate that should not be taken for granted, he said in giving a lecture on Nelson Mandela at UCT on Tuesday night.

The event was arranged by the ANC Youth League as part of the ANC’s centenary celebrations.

Sexwale lamented the divisions in the ANC.

If left unattended, they could lead to the party’s demise, he said.

“Nobody can explode the ANC from outside. It can only self-destruct. It can only implode.

“As the ANC goes to Mangaung, people are free to choose Jacob Zuma. Jacob Zuma and I are good friends. Jacob Zuma and I are comrades. We travelled the road to Polokwane together.

“The leadership of the ANC is a collective leadership. It does not matter who gets elected. It is for us to be together even if Jacob Zuma is elected. However, if people decide to put another leader in place it is still okay,” Sexwale said, to applause from about 500 people at the meeting.

Many in audience gave the substitution signal as Sexwale spoke.

Sexwale praised Mandela for his leadership and courage – characteristics he said should be emulated.

Earlier, a group of ANC Youth League supporters who appeared to favour Zuma for a second term as ANC leader, interrupted speakers who were critical of Zuma, and were called to order.

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Cape Times