PRESIDENTIAL hopeful Tokyo Sexwale has warned that a president who stopped listening to his people would be removed at the ANC’s elective conference.
In a thinly veiled warning to President Jacob Zuma, Sexwale, who has repeatedly come to the defence of expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, also cautioned against efforts to sideline the party’s youth.
Lecturing on the life of former ANC president Alfred Xuma yesterday, Sexwale said the leader dug his own grave in the 1940s and was removed after he refused to implement the youth league’s radical tactics in fighting the apartheid regime.
Sexwale has been criss- crossing the country in recent weeks in what Zuma’s backers say is a campaign to take on the ANC president at the party’s elective conference. Party members have been forbidden to campaign for new leaders until October.
Sexwale told a packed community hall in Alexandra, Johannesburg, yesterday: “At these conferences we change leaders, not because we want to change leaders, but because the struggle is about moving forward.
“People come and go. Change comes with new ideas. And one thing, if you are a leader, do not stand in the way of new ideas, otherwise the ideas will change you,” he said.
He attempted to play down suggestions he would stand against Zuma.
“Now, sometimes people say: ‘The way he is talking, he is talking about Mangaung’. I am not standing, I am not running for anything, but I am also not running away from anything,” Sexwale said.
Zuma appears to be aware of the threat. Delivering an earlier Xuma memorial lecture on Friday, Zuma, in an apparent reference to Sexwale, a successful businessman, said: “I don’t think we should allow that situation … delegates should be ashamed of electing somebody because he has money. Whether you have money or you don’t, it must be principles that inform us in electing our leadership.”