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By Eric Naki

Political Editor

Eastern Cape ANC calls the shots

National leadership given notice of forum for president’s opponents to speak out.

The Eastern Cape ANC has informed the party’s national leadership that it will be giving opponents of President Jacob Zuma a platform to express their views.

This is apropos the provincial ANC’s announcement that a consultative conference will take place in East London on next week.

It will include all alliance partners, the mass democratic movement and civil society in the Eastern Cape.

This move is a direct response to the push from ANC stalwarts and veterans for a conference to debate and iron out problems in the organisation ahead of the crucial national elective conference in December.

The ANC’s national leadership has so far not adopted any stance on that call.

However, the stalwarts and veterans have made themselves unpopular with the leadership because they have made no secret of their belief that Zuma should step down as president.

It’s believed that the Eastern Cape ANC is not in the Gupta family state capture web.

The stalwarts and veterans, believe that a consultative indaba, under the theme of “For the Sake of our Future”, would help to ensure the ANC elective national conference in December proceeds smoothly without power squabbles.

But some within the ANC national executive committee have ignored their call and instead suggested that two days of this month’s national policy conference should be dedicated to trying to resolve differences among members.

The party stalwarts and the Umkhonto weSizwe Veterans Council are opposed to this.

But the Eastern Cape, which is regarded as the cradle of South African black nationalism, having produced leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Steve Biko and Robert Sobukwe, has now decided to lead the process.

The province is led by SA Communist Party central committee member and former politburo member Phumulo Masualle who is ANC provincial chairperson and premier.

The ANC in the region said: “The conference is the result of calls from veterans and stalwarts in the province on the need to enhance organisational integrity and to address issues that contribute immensely to the erosion of values and principles of the ANC.

“The conference will also discuss effective ways to mobilise society behind the ANC’s vision and programme of action on how to rebuild the confidence of our citizens.” – ericn@citizen.co.za

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