The president implored members to focus on ’putting out fires of corruption’ and the ’fire of everything that is going wrong’ in the ANC, rather than on squabbles for public resources.
PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa has warned his party that it will lose the 2024 general elections if members continued to fight over power and access to resources to serve their personal interests.
Insisting that the governing party was “a house on fire”, the president implored members to focus on “putting out fires of corruption” and the “fire of everything that is going wrong” in the ANC, rather than on squabbles for public resources.
Ramaphosa issued the warning while delivering his closing address at the ANC’s 13th Mpumalanga provincial elective conference, which concluded at Witbank Dam, Emalahleni, on Sunday.
Ramaphosa also took issue with delegates for electing murder-accused Mandla Msibi as the provincial treasurer, saying they needed to “reflect” on the impact of their choices on ANC renewal efforts.
In a speech filled with candid reflections on the state of the governing party, its challenges and future electoral prospects, the president told hundreds of ANC members that they needed to arrest the decline or face electoral defeat.
“Contestation in the ANC in Mpumalanga was rooted over power and access to resources. We will lose the 2024 elections if we continue in the manner we did,” Ramaphosa said.
“Our people will never have confidence in us as long as they see us fighting among ourselves, or for as long as they see us fighting over the resources that belong to them.”
Ramaphosa said the burning of provincial ANC offices “by a disgruntled comrade” last month was “a metaphor for the state of affairs of the ANC that should not be lost on us”.
“Our house is on fire, and we are the ones who must put out this fire. And you as delegates here, you must put out the fires of division. You must put out the fire of corruption.
“You must put out the fire of everything that is going wrong in your movement. Last year’s local government election results are just one of the indicators that our movement faces serious challenges,” Ramaphosa said.
He also acknowledged that prior to the election of his ally, newly elected Mpumalanga ANC chairperson Mandla Ndlovu, delegates at the conference had been highly divided among three factions.
This included Ngqi7, linked to losing chairperson contender Lucky Ndinisa, RMT (Refiloe Mtsweni Tsipane) and Focus, led by Ndlovu.
According to sources, the Ngqi 7 and RMT groups were initially a unified body that backed Deputy President David Mabuza, but fractured before the provincial conference.
The two groupings, due to their differences, failed to produce a consolidated slate, which resulted in Premier Mtsweni-Tsipane withdrawing her nomination, while Ndinisa had to be nominated from the floor by 222 votes. The differences between the two groupings are believed to have led to Ndlovu and his Focus team enjoying a resounding victory.
Ramaphosa also lambasted delegates for endorsing Msibi even though he had been charged in connection with a shooting incident in Mbombela last year. Msibi, who was charged with murder last year, was elected alongside Ndlovu, his deputy Speedy Mashilo, secretary Muzi Chirwa and deputy secretary Lindiwe Ntshalintshali
A seemingly disappointed Ramaphosa called on ANC members to reflect on the impact of the election of leaders who were facing criminal charges on the party’s renewal process
“We need to demonstrate to all and sundry that indeed the ANC is serious about self-correcting, it is serious when it comes to the matter of dealing with corruption, it is serious about the implementation if our resolution, and on issues such as stepping side. We must demonstrate that we are truly serious as the ANC,” Ramaphosa said.
Ramaphosa lamented the state of ANC-controlled municipalities, saying in most cases it was due to the in-fighting that had consumed his party.