In South Africa, divisions within the ruling ANC Party
appear to be growing worse; and there's a possibility some members may break
away and form their own political party.
a high level meeting Monday, the ANC released a statement criticizing those who
"defy" party decisions or "engage in factional activity." Party divisions have been growing between
supporters of ANC leader Jacob Zuma, who's expected to run for president next
year, and former South African president Thabo Mbeki, who was asked recently by
the party to step down.
reporter Delia Robertson is following developments. From Johannesburg, she
spoke to English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about the ANC meeting
between former ANC chairman Mosiuoa Lekota and party treasurer Mathews Phosa.
Lekota has been roundly criticizing the current ANC leadership of late. He came
out last week and said that he's serving divorce papers on the ANC, saying he
intends to call a national consultative conference because the current leaders
of the ANC have completely slipped away from the principles of the
organization's founding document, the Freedom Charter, and also the national
constitution. Mr. Phosa responded by saying, well, perhaps the marriage isn't
quite irretrievably broken down and so the meeting," she says.
about the chance of a breakaway party being formed, Robertson says, "It's
looking more and more likely. In fact, if you look at the statement that was
made by the ANC following the meeting where…they made it clear that people, who
are members of the ANC, must stick to what the ANC says once it makes decisions
and so on. And should not be…basically criticizing the party in public and all
of that sort of thing. It sounds to me that there hasn't been a great meeting
of the minds today during that meeting. That some of the issues Mr. Lekota has
a week ago, Lekota issued a public letter to the ANC outlining his criticisms,
including abandoning the party's core principles.
is referring to the principles that are expressed in the founding document.
Things like equality before the law… In a press briefing last week, Mr. Lekota
said with respect to that particular clause that he has serious problems with
the ANC National Executive Committee calling for a political resolution to the
corruption case against Mr. Zuma. Although that case is now in abeyance, it
hasn't quite gone away yet. And he's saying…you can't do that. If you want a
political solution in one case, then surely anybody has a right to a political
solution." Zuma's corruption case is on hold due to a legal technicality.
says that Lekota said people should respect the judicial system and go through
the trial process. "If they're found not guilty, well and good. If they're
found guilty, then they accept the consequences of that," she says.
Robertson says while there are sharp
differences between Zuma and Mbeki supporters, others have also been concerned
by harsh statements coming from some ANC officials. Some examples she gives
include "the president of the ANC Youth League calling on its members to kill
for Zuma. And statements from other members of the organization saying there
will be no other president excepting Mr. Zuma." Others have strongly criticized
the courts and judges.