The ANC would lose the 2019 elections if it did not change course, the party’s parliamentary leader, Jackson Mthembu, warned yesterday.
In a stark and blunt message, Mthembu said if the ANC did not elect the right kind of leaders at its December national conference, it faced a bleak future.
He was addressing mourners at the funeral service of the late East London ANC stalwart and former South African National Students Congress (Sansco) and youth leader, Malusi Maxegwana.
Mthembu said losing Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, Tshwane and the City of Johannesburg was a clear message from ANC supporters that “we are serving our pockets, ourselves and our families.
“So they said, ‘let’s show you ANC. Please ANC self-correct’,” said the outspoken Mthembu.
Maxegwana, from Mdantsane, was a senior Buffalo City Metro official after having served as a chief of staff and special adviser to former mayor Alfred Mtsi.
He died last week at the age of 56
“We have forgotten why we fought for our liberation,” Mthembu said.
“We have become corrupt to the core. All that we need now is to accumulate and amass as much as we can and forget about our people who are suffering. Forget about the historic mission of our glorious movement.”
He said the ANC lost the three metros in last August’s election “because our people feel that we are no longer serving them and so they did not need not go and vote in 2016”.
Mthembu said the party was failing its supporters.
“If we fail to show the people of South Africa that we are able to self-correct, and that from December up to 2019 we will do things differently in their interest, Malusi, I am afraid come 2019 we will also lose at national level,” said Mthembu.
Several government and ANC leaders, including Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas, Economic Affairs MEC Sakhumzi Somyo, Buffalo City Metro speaker Alfred Mtsi, and Eastern Cape MPL, Lulu Johnson, were in attendance. The funeral coincided with the sitting of the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) where troubled ANC Nelson Mandela regional chairman, Andile Lungisa hoped his bid to continue serving in the position would be discussed and endorsed.
Mthembu and fellow NEC member, Sisisi Tolashe, were supposed to attend the meeting but Mthembu said they chose to come and support Humphrey Maxegwana, an ANC member of parliament who heads the communications portfolio.
Humphrey is Malusi’s elder brother.
Mthembu said: “We are so fractured and factional, including at the highest level of our organisation. The lead factions are part of that national executive committee”.
This seemed to be a veiled attack on ANC President Jacob Zuma’s visit to Nelson Mandela Metro on the day Lungisa was elected regional chairman.
This was despite ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe advising him not to do so as he was also a provincial executive committee (PEC) member.
Zuma’s visit was viewed as endorsing Lungisa’s appointment. ANC officials have since asked Lungisa to resign as metro chairman.
Mthembu said: “We are factions in the NEC. We are factions in the PECs, the RECs and the lowest structures”.
Jonas asked mourners to move “beyond focusing on positions”.
“We need to move beyond focusing on disunity and factions. In order to build a better South Africa, we need to build a united ANC,” he said.