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Drastic drop in ANC members - Zuma

President Jacob Zuma at the ANC's NGC. Picture: @MyANC

President Jacob Zuma at the ANC's NGC. Picture: @MyANC

Published Oct 9, 2015

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Midrand - President Jacob Zuma has warned the ANC that supporters are growing tired of the lack of discipline, infighting and divisions in the ruling party.

In a blunt assessment in his political report, Zuma told a stunned conference that the ANC’s numbers had dropped dramatically from one million in 2012, when the party turned 100, to around 769 000 now.

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“I hope you are listening,” he told more than 4 000 delegates at Gallagher Estate in Midrand, north of Johannesburg.

He said the party’s national general council (NGC), sitting for three days, needed to undertake an honest assessment of where the party was.

Zuma warned that many believed that the ANC had become “self-serving” and at times “deviates from its core values”.

He also spoke against “gate-keeping” which sometimes saw the bulk buying of members.

“Some of our traditional voters have become unsatisfied with our progress,” Zuma said.

The NGC must identify those issues that make our traditional support base unhappy.

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“In other words, it is us who worked for the support we have. It is also us who must maintain it and increase it.”

The atmosphere ahead of Zuma’s much-anticipated address was upbeat, with delegates and guests singing praise songs of their ANC leaders.

Zuma received a warm welcome from the delegates as he entered the large hall at the plush Gallagher Estate in Midrand and sat next to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

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Numerous ANC heavyweights, including secretary general Gwede Mantashe, African Union Commission chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, deputy agriculture minister Bheki Cele, and several cabinet ministers were also present.

Prior to the NGC’s official opening comrades and friends mingled and greeted each other, while branch delegates waited for proceedings to begin in their designated areas.

The ANC national general council finally kicked off at about 10.30am with Zuma making the opening address.

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Zuma used the opportunity to lay down the law.

“The core values of our movement are unity, selflessness, sacrifice, collective leadership, humility, honesty, discipline, hard work, internal debates, constructive and self-criticism and mutual respect,” he said.

These seemed to be eroded. It is the ANC who must ensure the core values of the movement is looked after, Zuma said.

Honesty, discipline, internal debates, self- and constructive criticism and mutual respect, among others, were at stake, the ANC president said in clear language.

The “lack of discipline” of its cadres and undermining of the authority of the ANC with “impunity” was an outside observation, which the ANC and alliance would of necessity have to acknowledge.

The ANC “must not tolerate hooliganism, violence” and other “negative” behaviour, including the gate-keeping and bulk-buying of membership, he said to applause.

“We are also aware ANC conferences are important beyond the movement, because the ANC leads… and effects (all in South Africa),” Zuma said at the beginning of his speech.

He said South Africa belonged to all who live in it, black and white, and no government can change without the will of the people.

 

Zuma preached unity of purpose, non-racism, non-sexism and freedom of sexual orientation.

“We should thus fight any attempt to resurrect the demon of racism from the apartheid grave, and to glorify a system of government that was declared a crime against humanity,” he said.

However freedoms would be fought for “throughout our lives” – as first stated in the ANC-led Congress Movement’s Freedom Charter of 1955.

 

The ANC’s NGC is set to discuss economic transformation at length.

Among the issues Zuma and the delegates will give top priority to include job losses, energy, land, agriculture and building a capable state.

A delegate from mining town Carolina in Mpumalanga told Independent Media he was mostly concerned about retrenchments.

“I am worried about economic transformation and contributions made by mines to communities,” said Walter Mgomezulu.

Limpopo delegate Ishamael Kagtjepe echoed similar sentiments.

“All 10 focus point are important, but I am more concerned about progress made on economic transformation. Without this achievement, we won’t be able to move on other agendas.”

The conference ends on Sunday.

Labour Bureau and ANA

* Click here for more news on the ANC NGC.

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