With the African National Congress’s (ANC’s) fifty-fifth National Elective Conference taking place in a week, National Executive Committee (NEC) nominee Sihle Zikala is calling for unity, a mantra from the party’s January 8th statement, and which forms part of the ANC’s renewal strategy.
Speaking exclusively to Polity, Zikalala, who tops the list of ANC NEC nominations, said factionalism is weakening the party.
“We admit that the ANC as an organisation is going through challenges, however, the spirit of factionalism is not the answer to our problems. There must be efforts to uproot factionalism because it is the main source that denies the movement the capacity to work coherently and focus on the primary tasks of the revolution,” he said.
Despite the many challenges currently plaguing the ANC, Zikalala has full confidence in the party, urging “a pure process of renewal” for the future success of the ANC.
“I believe we need to objectively go thorough the renewal programme in a way that is not selective. What we need to do as an organisation is to stop fighting each other and start serving communities. The December Conference should be considered as a second chance to make our wrong right. It is also a proper time to reflect on the progress that we have made since the beginning of the party,” he said.
He wants to see the high levels of poverty and the high cost of living addressed, which, once tackled, he believes will ensure that the party becomes relevant to the people on the ground.
“The ANC should exist to unite, serve and lead the people of South Africa, particularly in the struggle against social ills, instead of individuals fighting for personal power,” he said.
The party needed to lead by example and be united for the country to be united, he added.
“The organisation will not be able to unite the people of the country if it is so divided, that is why we are saying that our unity should be measured around the programme of the revolution,” said Zikalala.
His concern ahead of the 2024 elections is disillusionment with the party. The ANC has seen its support drop in recent years. However, Zikalala wants people to remember the party’s success over the years.
He took a stance on corruption and said those who brought the ANC into disrepute and whose conduct was beyond reproach should not be tolerated.
“This means that we should fight all corruption practices and restore the best value of serving people. We must refuse to see the institutions of our hard-won freedom being perverted or corrupted to fight factional battles. Institutions of government must be allowed to work transparently and objectively with no interference,” Zikalala said.