Leaders disagree over the party’s centre

Three ANC heavyweights, including two December ANC conference presidential hopefuls, cannot agree whether the party centre is holding.

SPEAKING OUT: At Ace Ncobo’s book launch at UFH’s Miriam Makeba Centre in East London are ANC presidential hopeful Mathews Phosa, Ncobo and ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize Picture: ZINGISA MVUVU

According to outspoken SACP Eastern Cape leader Xolile Nqatha, there is no centre as “it went to Saxonwold”.

However Zweli Mkhize, who is the ANC treasurer-general, disagreed.

A third voice, that of ANC presidential hopeful Mathews Phosa, said the centre was there – but not holding.

The disagreement played out during a discussion at Ace Ncobo’s book launch at the University of Fort Hare’s Miriam Makeba Centre in East London.

It was here that former Fifa referee and teacher Ncobo, now turned author and politician, was launching his book titled The Ten Principles of Philanthropic Leadership.

Nqatha, as is usually the case when he assumes a public platform, fired shots about moral and ethical decay in the ANC and South Africa at large.

This was while Mkhize tried hard to save face for the party.

Nqatha accused the nation, as well as President Jacob Zuma and his ANC faction, of having been captured by “the business” cartel led by the notorious Gupta family.

“It is one thing to talk about a centre but there is no centre to begin with.

“It has gone to the business cartel in Saxonwold,” lamented Nqatha, who is a long-time critic of Zuma’s relationship with the Gupta family.

Mkhize, on the other hand, who serves in the ANC’s national top six leadership, said the centre was holding but the party was “experiencing difficulties”.

Nqatha then reminded Mkhize of his, ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa’s and ANC secretary-general Gwede Manthashe’s sudden retreat after they had publicly criticised Zuma for reshuffling his cabinet early this year.

“The crisis we have now is that we have a president [Zuma] who is the leader of a faction, therefore the capacity to self-correct is very thin or not there at all,” said Nqatha.

“It is important for all of us to confront this issue. Which is why some of us were disappointed, comrade Mkhize when you, SG [Mantashe] and DP [Ramaphosa] opposed the president’s decision to recall ministers but later you retreated,” he told Mkhize.

“Your retreat was from the premise that you thought you were subjecting yourselves to the organisation yet you were subjecting yourselves to a faction that has captured the organisation and parading itself as the organisation.”

Denying this, Mkhize said they did not retreat – instead their change of tune was inspired by the fact that they had the “privilege to raise issues internally.”

However, Nqatha said “we are lying to ourselves if we say the revolution is on track”.

“Comrades are turning against each other. Comrades are assassinating each other. Others are dying in freak accidents.

“Unfortunately genuine and patriotic South Africans are going to suffer if we do not defend the revolution,” he said. — zingisam@dispatch.co.za

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