Sue Segar

ANC VETERANS League (ANCVL) president Sandi Sejake has hit back at the ruling party after it met behind his back with the league leadership to discuss his recent criticism of President Jacob Zuma and the party.

“I am not part of those who are corrupt. There should be a lifestyle audit to distinguish the corrupt members from those of us who are genuine members who love the ANC,” he said.

“We will not live with this corrupt label because of some individuals who are perpetrating anti-ANC behaviour.”

Sejake was responding after ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe issued a statement on Monday saying the party had met the veterans league leadership, which had expressed its disappointment over Sejake’s pronouncements and “collectively distanced themselves from the reckless and unwarranted comments”.

The meeting came after Zuma, in his opening address at the party’s policy conference in Midrand last week, directed a veiled attack at Sejake, who had criticised the party leadership and called for Zuma to be replaced at the ANC’s elective conference in Mangaung in December.

He has recently also slammed the party’s handling of The Spear painting issue and the disciplinary steps taken against ANC Youth League members.

In January, Sejake said “syndicates” had taken over the election of leadership in the ANC at all levels. He said Zuma must be removed as party president in Mangaung because of his ties to the powerful Gupta family.

Zuma warned in his address last week against wanton ill-discipline and suggested those who defied the party leadership risked expulsion.

Zuma cautioned elders in the party who defended the ill-discipline of the ANCyl, saying their role was to help the organisation and not to worsen controversial decisions.

In response to Zuma’s threats of censure for those who defied the party leadership, a defiant Sejake said: “Discipline must have grounds. It would be interesting to be disciplined, and to see on what grounds this would be done.

“I am very clear about what is happening in the ANC. Many people in the ANC are bought. They are not volunteers like we were.”

Veterans league secretary-general Natso Khumalo effectively endorsed Mantashe’s statement yesterday, when, asked for comment, he said: “Once the leadership has spoken, it means they have spoken. That’s it.”

Khumalo would not be drawn further on the matter.

Mantashe said in the statement the meeting followed a number of negative comments made by Sejake in relation to the ANC national executive committee and Zuma.

Mantashe said

the veterans league leadership explained it had not given Sejake a mandate for his comments.

“The ANC views his conduct as being inconsistent with his responsibility as the president of the ANCVL,” Mantashe said.