A political analyst described Monday’s meeting of the African National Congress (ANC) national working committee (NWC) and a group of stalwarts who are unhappy with the state of the party as an “anti-climax”.
The meeting was called by ANC veterans‚ led by the Rev Frank Chikane‚ to address concerns in the ranks as well as the president’s fitness to hold office as the leader of the party and country.
The stalwarts reacted to former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s state capture report‚ saying the evidence contained in it shows Zuma has brought shame to the organisation and the country.
“I heard this morning that the veterans went into that meeting as a divided force and‚ if that’s anything to go by‚ it is clear that the anti-Zuma faction was isolated. Then it means this crisis is not over yet‚” said Zamikhaya Maseti.
“I hope they were able to reflect‚ because four hours is enough for them to reflect on the performance of the party and what they think might be the problem.
“According to what I have observed‚ they (NWC) are following the ANC tradition and what that tradition is this thing of allowing the processes of the organisation to (be followed)‚ such as going back to the branches. But‚ all in all‚ I think the meeting reached an anti-climax‚” Maseti told TMG Digital.
He described Zuma’s utterances over the weekend – in which the president took a swipe at the party stalwarts at a series of cadre forums — as very “unfortunate and showed total disrespect”.
“The president can’t ridicule the veterans when they speak out‚ even if they are no longer active in the party. It showed total disdain and disrespect for the veterans‚ and to those who are outside the ANC structures. Most of those guys (veterans) are very old and you can’t expect them to sit regularly in branch meetings‚ but they remain ANC members in good standing‚” added Maseti.
During the weekend roadshow‚ Zuma brushed off recent calls for his resignation as criticism that will serve to make him stronger.
Although the veterans were publicly criticised by some ANC members for overlooking ANC structures to raise their views‚ they seemed to have found common ground after Monday’s meeting.
ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa on Monday said unity must be fostered‚ giving a signal that the NWC would not agree to calls for Zuma to step down.
“We are at one with our veterans in terms of what must come out of this meeting. Out of this meeting we want to see unity of the African National Congress. Regardless of how different we may interpret events‚ the ANC‚ out of this engagement‚ must be as strong as a rose that grew out of concrete‚” said Kodwa.
The ANC will hold a three-day national executive committee meeting this weekend where veterans are also expected to further express their views about the party.