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ANC Eastern Cape elective conference kicks off amid calls for discipline

Sep 28, 2017
ANC Eastern Cape elective conference kicks off amid calls for discipline

All eyes will this weekend be on the much-anticipated African National Congress (ANC) 8th Eastern Cape Provincial Conference, which is taking place in East London from Thursday.

Crucially, the conference will see the election of a new party Provincial Chairperson - a position that is reportedly being contested by current Chairperson and Eastern Cape  Premier, Phumulo Masualle, and ANC Eastern Cape Provincial Secretary, Oscar Mabuyane, well as other Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) members.

The contest between Masualle and Mabuyane is widely seen as a microcosm of the national contest for President Jacob Zuma's successor between Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, and President Zuma's preferred candidate, who is also his ex-wife, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Reports suggest that Mabuyane is in Ramaphosa's camp while Masualle is in the Dlamnini-Zuma camp.

The Eastern Cape conference is important in that the Eastern Cape is the ANC's second largest province by membership after the KwaZulu-Natal. Thus, whoever wins the Eastern Cape will go to the ANC National Elective conference on a higher footing.

Perhaps the seriousness of the conference is captured in a statement released by the ANC in the Nelson Mandela Bay region on Tuesday in which it said that it had observed with pain ANC members disrespecting fellow members because they have different leadership preferences.

"Comrades, you must understand that the ANC is a democratic organization, and naturally within its democratic processes there will always be divergent views and different ideas," said Gift Ngqondi, Spokesperson for the ANC in the Nelson Mandela Bay Region.

"What is important is how you express those differences. They must never be taken at a personal level. Points must be raised in a disciplined manner.

We may differ politically, have different preferences on leadership, but, regardless of our differences, we must always rise above pettiness and any behavior that is unbecoming of an ANC member."

He said that it was the responsibility of members to protect the integrity and image of the movement and serve as bulwark of unity and cohesion of the ANC.

"Historically the ANC has had discipline as one of its most cherished values; and as a central pillar.

"Robust debate must continue, but has to occur within the appropriate structures and forums, so that the necessary decorum can be maintained in the organization," Ngqondi said.

"In engaging in these robust debates, members of the ANC should use the art of persuasion to win people over. That is the essence of the organization's internal democracy.We must seek to influence and be ready to be influenced.

"It is the force of logic, based on scientific analysis that guides the ANC decision making process, and not rowdiness."

Ngqondi said that in the ANC, the organization is above the individual, the unity of the organization is central and must be protected at all times.

"No one should ever be allowed to disrupt the Constitutional meetings of the ANC, be it a branch meeting, Regional Conference, Provincial Conference or National Conference."

He said that in choosing Provincial leadership, members must also accept that the world is becoming younger and the party needs youthful leadership.

"To younger delegates to the Conference let me remind you about this quotation 'As young people, we must be alive to the reality that dialectically the old will resist the inevitable advent of the new, hence Marx observed such contradictions as struggle and unity of opposites resulting in the negation of the old while the new is still embryonic in the old'.

"You should debate as the youth of the ANC that given the fact that all over the world leaders are becoming younger and younger everyday and that the global population and the South African population is youthful, do we need to continue with generational mix or a generational take over to lead our own generation in society," Ngqondi said.

"Find solutions to the unemployment facing our youth in our Province. How we accelerate service delivery to our people in Mnquma, Mbhashe, Engcobo and all municipalities in our province.

"You must understand that for any revolution to succeed, it requires unprecedented levels of political discipline and maturity.
We will still need each other after the Conference."