Former president Jacob Zuma has called on ANC structures to revolt against the party’s leadership after the party’s poor performance in the local government elections.
Speaking at the funeral service on Friday of the brother of his ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, in Bulwer, KwaZulu-Natal, Zuma told mourners that party members should “rise and save the ANC”.
In other rumblings of open rebellion against President Cyril Ramaphosa’s leadership, ANC members aligned to Zuma’s backers yesterday staged a protest outside the party’s Moses Mabhida regional offices in Pietermaritzburg.
Celebgossip has learnt that more protests are planned in eThekwini tomorrow.
Zuma called on the membership to “react to this [the electoral setback]”, adding: “In our structures let us stand up — let us ask a questions from the leadership, they must come explain what went wrong.”
He attributed the election results to the failure of Ramaphosa and other leaders to implement party resolutions that would
seen the ANC alleviate many social problems.
“The only resolution they were keen on implementing is the step aside. Other resolutions which are critical in changing the lives of the people and transforming the country are being neglected, and I will not keep quiet when things go wrong in the ANC,” said Zuma.
Had he not been on parole from prison, he would have campaigned for the ANC and the party would not have performed as poorly as it did, said Zuma.
“If I was not on house arrest, I would have explained to voters why it was important to vote for the ANC despite its shortcoming and would have convinced them to not punish the party but rather to hold leaders accountable.” He said members are angry because leaders are focusing on “factional politics”.
Zuma also expressed dissatisfaction with ANC supporters who did not vote, speculating that this was punishment for the party’s endemic factionalism. But he said it had only served to advance “the campaign to reduce the ANC’s majority”.
“The plan is to weaken the ANC, and some who are leading that campaign are from within. If you don’t vote you are hurting the ANC when it is not at fault. We must hold the individuals accountable but not harm the ANC,” said Zuma.
The former president said he could not keep quiet as doing so would make him sick.
“I don’t want to be ill, I want to stay happy — that is why I am sad I did not go to the NEC [national executive committee] because I was going to speak up. Everything I believe led us to such a decline I was going to lay bare,” said Zuma.
Zuma may have been referring to a special ANC national executive committee meeting that was initially scheduled for Friday, but moved to today.
An ANC member in Zuma’s camp who was present at the funeral service, and who asked not to be named, said he agreed fully with Zuma’s sentiments.
“He is right. I agree with him. We have never had a national general council, in direct contravention of the [party’s] constitution. We won’t have a policy conference and chances are high that we won’t have a national conference. The first thing we need to agree about is removing the current leadership,” said the KwaZulu-Natal leader.
Zuma’s words, said the leader, were received well by mourners.
“People said the real president of the ANC has spoken. That’s the president we know.”
He said Zuma’s imprisonment had a huge impact on the party’s performance in KwaZulu-Natal, but ANC leaders are not willing to admit this.
“The Zuma factor is there and it’s serious. It’s a fundamental factor … the ANC has not discussed this matter,” the leader said.