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ANC Gauteng chairperson says the party is not dead

ANC Gauteng Chairperson Panyaza Lesufi at the Launch of Edcon Design Innovation Challenge at Melrose Arch Edgars in Johannesburg. Picture: Itumeleng English

ANC Gauteng Chairperson Panyaza Lesufi at the Launch of Edcon Design Innovation Challenge at Melrose Arch Edgars in Johannesburg. Picture: Itumeleng English

Published Jul 3, 2022


Johannesburg - Newly-elected ANC Gauteng provincial chairperson Panyaza Lesufi says the organisation is not on its deathbed and will recover from its challenges. Lesufi said South Africans are still emotionally attached to the organisation.

"There is no organisation or political party in South Africa with half the representation of the ANC. There is not a single political party that has half the membership of the ANC. The ANC is not dead. It will not die," Lesufi said.

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Despite the organisation's recent turbulent period, he expressed confidence in the ANC's prospects and ability to emerge victorious in the 2024 national and provincial elections.

However, he issued a stern warning: "The ANC is not dead, but if you can't do anything to change the wrong things happening, we will inevitably have challenges. So we need an agile ANC with intellectual stamina that understands its mission and why it exists."

According to Lesufi, what is needed is an ANC that is decisive in decision-making and can put aside factionalism for the greater good.

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"If we can't be decisive because this particular individual belongs to a certain faction, that's the end. We need to strengthen the administrative machinery of the ANC and the actual management of ANC internal processes," he added.

Lesufi was adamant that voters still loved the ANC. He said South Africans were emotionally attached to the ANC. The Education MEC was, however, cognisant that love can't be taken for granted, and is not set in stone.

"So it's very important that we have an ANC that responds to their needs," he said.

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South Africans, Lesufi continued, were not waiting for the ANC to renew itself, but were continuing with their lives with or without the governing party.

"Our people feel let down by this movement," he admitted.

His ascension to the highest office of the provincial leadership presented a problem for the liberation movement, one that it has struggled to deal with at a national level: two centres of power.

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The two last presidents of the organisation have not been able to continue leading in government after their terms in the party ended. President Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma were both recalled from the government following the party's elective conferences, where new leaders emerged.

However, Lesufi believed that it should not be a challenge for them in Gauteng.

"There is only one centre of power in the ANC, and that centre is the ANC. We don't have two centres of power, and there is nothing wrong if you have a premier who is not a chairperson," he said.

Lesufi recalled that when Makhura became Gauteng premier in 2014, current ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile was chairperson of the party, and even went further to say Mashatile was a MEC in Makhura's provincial executive.

"Let's not create confusion that is not there. David Makhura is the premier of the ANC in Gauteng, and will continue to be the premier.

Any person that feels they will elbow him or will push him or will rush him out, that person is wrong," he said.

Lesufi said his mission and that of the leadership he has been elected with was to get the ANC right and not rush to get into government.

"If you can't get the ANC right, you will not get government right. If you can't ensure that the ANC is agile, responsive and serves our people, you can send whoever you want to send to the government, and you will not get it right. We need to get the ANC right so that we can get our province and country right," he explained.

Lesufi defeated his human settlements, urban planning, co-operative governance and traditional affairs counterpart Lebogang Maile by 575 votes to 543 in the hotly-contested battle to replace Makhura as ANC chairperson last weekend.

The provincial conference, which was marred by delays caused by disputes over delegates, credentials and even a high court bid to halt the gathering, will resume next weekend.

"We are continuing with the conference on July 9 and 10, and we believe that even the election of office bearers must have removed some steam in contestation," Lesufi said.

Next Saturday and Sunday the provincial conference will go into commissions, receive commission reports, finalise Gauteng's policy positions and adopt a motion for the preparation for the national policy conference later this month, and elect additional members of the provincial executive committee.

Lesufi said delegates were exhausted, and the ANC needed to adjourn the provincial conference. Thembinkosi Nciza, who replaced Jacob Khawe as provincial secretary, promised that come 2024, the ANC would be more organised.

Sunday Independent