The newly-elected chairperson of the ANC in Gauteng, Panyaza Lesufi used his closing remarks at the party’s 14th provincial conference to stress the importance of preparing well for the 2024 general election.
This is an election described by many as the most important since the first democratic election in 1994, for the ANC.
Speaking in Ekurhuleni on Sunday evening, Lesufi said those who thought the conference would not conclude its business, must eat humble pie, reiterating that no one won or lost in the provincial elective conference and that it was the ANC that emerged victorious.
Regarding the headache of factions in the ANC, Lesufi said they have have officially disbanded the factions.
‘Unstable’ coalition governments
On coalition governments in different municipalities, Lesufi claimed those governments that have been established are very fragile and are not responding to the service delivery needs of the people.
“The moment has arrived that a strong, talented and agile ANC must rise from the ashes and take its rightful place in all the municipalities in our province.
“The economic centres of Gauteng are under this fragile and unstable coalition governments… and all these unstable local authorities are creating a problem in our province,” Lesufi said.
Going forward, Lesufi stressed that with about 19 months to go before the general election in 2024, they should appropriately establish public structures that will assist them to respond to the election challenge.
“We have no choice comrades, we have to go back to our constituencies and our constituencies are clear, we must not be confused. Unless we change the lives of our people in the townships, in the informal settlement and hostels, we’ll never be an African National Congress that our people can support,” he said.
Lesufi said it is critically important for a state capacity to be built that is ready to deliver services to the people.
“Gone are the days that we should rely on third parties to deliver services, we must strengthen and have a strong government that is agile and ready to deliver those services on its own without going through many third parties that can deal with these issues,” he said.
Regarding the 156 branches that were not part of the conference, Lesufi had a strong message for them, saying it was a serious indictment.
“These 156 branches that were supposed to be here, it simply means there is no presence of the ANC in those areas. As we move to convert our structures into election structures, we must start with these 156 branches.
“We know comrades why these 156 branches could not join us, it’s factional battles, it’s gatekeeping, it’s people who think if their wishes cannot be fulfilled, the branch can’t sit. We must confront those people mercilessly and our position must be clear comrades, those that have done wrong things coming to this conference, regardless of the slate that they supported, if you have done a wrong thing, you must know we are coming for them,” Lesufi said.
He also stressed that if they cant maintain discipline in the ANC, then it will be the end for all of them.
He said the first act of ill-discipline is to attend to those who wanted to collapse the conference.
Meanwhile acting secretary-general of the ANC, Paul Mashatile, echoed Lesufi’s sentiments, stressing that it was important for the party to go back to various communities.
“I’m sure some might say to Panyaza don’t worry about the electricity issues of Soweto, it’s a problem of the Joburg mayor. It can’t be, you need to go into the space,” he said.
Both Mashatile and Lesufi also used the opportunity to condone the killings of patrons at different taverns in Gauteng and in KwaZulu-Natal.