President Cyril Ramaphosa says the 9TH ANC elective conference that re-elected Premier Stan Mathabatha as provincial chairperson was the vehicle for their 2019 general election campaign.
However, he warns against a winner takes all approach to leadership positions, saying it undermines unity and robs the party of good leaders.
In his closing address to the conference held at a hotel outside Polokwane at the weekend, Ramaphosa warned delegates that going to the most competitive elections since 1994 as a divided house, was a recipe for disaster.
“I am pleased that this conference was so successful because out of this conference you are going to elect a team that is going to lead the process to elect the ANC into the next Parliament and into the next legislature,” said Ramaposa to the delegates at the close of the conference.
He conceded the last elections were not the best for the ANC in the province.
“Remember that Limpopo always performs at a high level so all of us have a responsibility to lead the elective process so that we win and win decisively in the next election because this is going to be the most-hard fought elections.
“We need to put together all those structures that will lead us to the elections. The leaders that you are going to elect are the engine and that engine of the elections must be well chosen. We need to put together an election machinery,” he reiterated.
Ramaphosa also emphasised the importance of unifying the organisation after a disgruntled group of ANC members tried but failed to interdict the conference at the High Court in Johannesburg citing the flouting of party processes and illegitimate structures.
“We need different tones and different perspectives in the organisation. We have to advocate for unity because it’s rooted in the principles of our organisation but focus on improving the lives of our people. This winner takes all type of approach to leadership of various structures in our movement is a recipe for disaster’” he said to loud cheers of the delegates.
Apart from Mathabatha, Treasurer Danny Msiza was the only leader from the previous top five who was retained by the branches. Former deputy chairperson Jerry Ndou was replaced by Vhembe District Mayor Florence Radzilani; Soviet Lekganyane replaced Nocks Seabi as Provincial Secretary while Mopani ANC regional secretary Basikopo Makamu took over from Makoma Makhurupetje as deputy secretary.
The thorny issue of ANC members taking their own organisation to court took centre stage at the conference, with party Secretary General Ace Mashashule accusing them of using the judiciary to further factional battles and self-interest.
Delivering his key note address on the opening day of the conference on Saturday morning, under the shadow of a court case in the Johannesburg High court, Magashule blasted those who slapped the organisation with court papers and sought to put the brakes on the conference.
“It is now becoming fashionable for people to take the ANC to court. When you are 1 500 delegates in a conference and you have one or four wanting to take the ANC to court. What does that mean?” asked Magashule to loud applause from the 2000 delegates.
He further questioned if those kinds of members were still part of the ANC or which agenda they were using to reverse the gains of the revolution the ANC had made.
“Who is funding them? Or who is mis-funding them when people who are unemployed and have no money, who don’t even have R100 in their bank account. Who is funding them? People must be patient for leadership positions as their time will come,” exclaimed Magashule.
He secretary general said that the ANC was a very important organisation that people should respect.
“Comrades we must strive to win even that vote of a person you hate with a passion if we are to survive,” he said.