Cape Town – Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has defended her decision to speak out against the recent cabinet reshuffle at the National Working Committee (NWC). The reshuffle sparked divisions in society and rocked the ANC.
Sisulu said the ANC and its structures have always provided opportunities for people to exercise their democratic right to speak their mind. Sisulu said she spoke out because there was freedom of speech in the NWC and National Executive Committee (NEC).
“We speak our minds in the hope it will be kept in-house,” she said.
President Jacob Zuma was widely criticised inside and outside the ANC for his cabinet reshuffle in which he axed Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, among others. The SACP and Cosatu called on him to quit in the ensuing fallout.
Sisulu, who also chairs the NEC’s sub-committee on social transformation, said the NWC and NEC would not stifle debate on matters affecting the party.
Sisulu added that the ANC would not disappear. She said it would recover from the current turmoil and reclaim its position in society.
The senior NEC member said the party would go to its policy conference in June to self-correct. This was where robust discussions and debates would take place to get the party back on track, she said
The ANC was a party able to rise above its challenges, she added. She said the party had an abundance of leadership talent, and it was not surprising that so many people had been nominated for various posts.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, former African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, and the party’s national chairperson and Speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete, are some of the people who are being strongly tipped to be nominated to succeed President Jacob Zuma in December.
Sisulu was recently nominated by a branch in the Eastern Cape. But she has denied that she is campaigning.
She said the events she attended in the Eastern Cape were arranged months ago, but were put on hold because of a personal tragedy.
As head of the NEC’s social transformation cluster she also speaks to party members on the ANC’s policy documents to be discussed at the policy conference in June.
“I am always available to talk to our people and to share information,” she said.
Sisulu said she was not surprised that so many people were being seen as candidates to lead the ANC. This was a clear indication that there was no shortage of leadership in the ANC.
The current generation of leaders would reflect on the ANC and the challenges it faces, she said.
“This generation is the generation that fought, the generation that carries the values of the ANC,” said Sisulu. The ANC will elect a new president in December when Zuma steps down as party leader.”