The ANC should never return to the state it was in during Polokwane - Zweli Mkhize
Parys - The thought of going to the 2017 national elective conference under the same conditions as the 2007 Polokwane conference is distressful, says ANC treasurer general Zweli Mkhize.
Mkhize was one of a handful of ANC leaders to address party members at an ANC Free State cadres forum, currently underway in Parys. He warned the ANC of the potential impact divisions and fighting for positions could have on the party.
"When we were going to Polokwane - I think comrades must not remember - we were very angry," said Mkhize.
He added that some of the tendencies which plagued the party in the lead up to that conference were carried over and already affecting the upcoming elective conference.
President Jacob Zuma defeated then president of both the ANC and the country, Thabo Mbeki, the latter was recalled as Head of State a year later.
Several ANC leaders have admitted that fierce contestation for the party's top post in December has left the 105 year old movement fractured and struggling to address issues of factionalism and state politics.
"One of the songs we used to sing was ‘So dibana e'Limpopo [We are going to meet in Limpopo]'. The truth of the matter [is that] the song was sung when threatened [by] the apartheid forces, it was not meant for us," explained Mkhize.
"We were then saying we were going to meet each other in Polokwane, to destroy each other,'' continued the ANC treasurer general.
He said there was an agreement that the party would never return to the state it was in during its 52nd congress.
Mkhize stressed the need for the political party to unite, telling delegates that only true threat to the ANC was when its unity is challenged.
Calls for Zuma's removal complex
The ANC leader addressed the recently failed attempt by opposition parties in Parliament to pass a motion of no confidence against Zuma.
Mkhize, taking into consideration calls by the ANC's alliance partners for Zuma to go, said it was a difficult issue.
"The ANC met several times to discuss that issue... at the end of it, we decided that it was not possible to take such a decision," said Mkhize.
He said the ANC had never been bothered by previous bids by opposition parties to remove its president.
Zuma survived the 8th motion of no confidence against him, with 198 votes against the motion, 177 in favour and 9 abstentions.
"We had taken a view that it was not our task to help the opposition to remove our leader or our party from power, simply because they don't agree with us," said Mkhize.
He added that the voting pattern which emerged from the Tuesday sitting was concerning. Mkhize said the party needed to talk to its comrades.
"Even if we have a disagreement, it's open here in terms of our discussions in our structures but a disagreement can't take over and lead to us having to participate with the opposition," he said to applause from the crowd.
He said as party members they might not agree on issues, but had to accept that they were all bound by the same decisions.