ANC Veterans’ League president Snuki Zikalala said the boos for Zuma at the ANC’s 106th birthday celebrations show “South Africans are very hurt”. Picture: Picture Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency/ANA

Johannesburg - Saturday's booing of President Jacob Zuma at East London’s Buffalo City Stadium shows just how much his administration has hurt so many South Africans - and that they now want change.

ANC Veterans’ League president Snuki Zikalala told Independent Media the boos for Zuma from large sections of the crowd at the ANC’s 106th birthday celebrations show “South Africans are very sensitive and very hurt so they want change and renewal”.

“They want to see those involved in state looting, because the rot is deep, it’s not small, to account,” he said.

Zikalala warned that if Zuma was not recalled, the ANC would not win next year’s general elections.

”As you saw here, people were booing when his name was mentioned,” he said.

Zuma has been booed several times during his presidency, including in front of several heads of state at former president Nelson Mandela’s memorial service in December 2013 and at international soccer matches.

The governing party’s national executive committee (NEC) held a special meeting last Wednesday to discuss the January 8 statement delivered by ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday.

It was widely expected that Zuma’s recall would be discussed at the meeting, but the matter was not on the agenda.

NEC members opposed to Zuma’s continued tenure as the country’s president are expected to raise the issue at this week’s meeting.

Zikalala said Zuma’s leadership of the country had caused immense damage.

”We cannot have two centres of power. The NEC realises that we cannot have two centres of power."

“Once the ANC is in trouble the country is trouble, then the continent is in trouble,” he added.

Ramaphosa told thousands of ANC members and supporters that party leaders would undertake a programme of organisational renewal.

It would decisively address divisions and dysfunction in the organisation.

”This will include concrete steps to empower members of the ANC to determine the direction of the movement and to decide - free from manipulation and coercion - who should lead the movement,” he said.

Ramaphosa promised to rid the ANC of the gate-keeping, vote-buying and undue interference that strips members of their rights, responsibility and influence.

The ANC also intended to restore its integrity and credibility, he added.

”We need cadres who are committed to serve no other interests other than the interests of the people."

“Cadres who seek no advantage for themselves or their families from positions they occupy and who safeguard public resources,” said Ramaphosa.

The integrity commission would be strengthened to deal with ethics in the ANC and its standing and the status of its decisions would be finalised by June.

Zikalala praised the January 8 statement, describing it as “very encouraging”.

”We’re fully behind the new ANC leadership,” he said.

He said the ANC’s biggest problem presently was accountability.

”Now that we have a party president who is committed to unity, accountability and to ensure that he restores the dignity of the ANC and that he ensures the public regains confidence in the ANC, we’re definitely sure that we will make strides come 2019,” said Zikalala.

Sunday Independent