The Youth Wing of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) party has described as a commendable leadership act ANC President Jacob Zuma’s statement that he holds no grudge against people who despised him ahead of the Polokwane conference. Zuma was elected president of the ANC at the Polokwane conference after defeating incumbent Thabo Mbeki who was running for an unprecedented third term as party leader. Zuma reportedly said he would not punish those ministers under the current administration who insulted him and questioned his leadership qualities before the succession battle with Mbeki. Some political observers say Zuma’s gesture could go a long way in healing alleged rifts within the rank-and-file of the party. Zizi Kodwa is the spokesman for the ruling ANC Youth Wing. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from Durban, South Africa that Zuma has once again demonstrated his inspirational leadership abilities.
“That is the kind of leadership qualities that Jacob Zuma has, and the thought has inspired us to speak about him and to have him as a president because people can do all these other things on the basis of immediate challenges. But obviously, that kind of leadership does not have vengeance and therefore we are inspired of the fact that even some of the people who abused organs of state, departments and their positions in government, and persecuted Jacob Zuma, and he is prepared to work with them. It is quite an inspirational thing,” Kodwa pointed out.
He denied there was a rift in the party after the Polokwane conference that saw Jacob Zuma being elected as ANC president.
“Well, I don’t know if there is a rift, but I think that as people who’ve got different opinions on a number of issues, there is an acceptance that contestation was prevalent in Polokwane and therefore we are no longer dealing with that, we now have a new leader and that leader is Jacob Zuma,” he said.
Kodwa said the ANC president has people within the ANC he could choose in his new cabinet when elected president of South Africa.
“Jacob Zuma doesn’t have his own people, he has got the ANC. And if they are good cadres in the current government who have done well and who have performed and there are many of such, what’s the point of changing faces when we’ve got people in the context of continuity and change, you may need to sustain and maintain some of those people,” Kodwa noted.
He said the ANC president would continue implementing the policies of the ruling party that current state President Thabo Mbeki has been embarking upon.
“Absolutely, the only area of difference could be the emphasis on a number of policy imperatives,” he sad.
Kodwa reiterated that the ANC president would only implement policies of the ruling party.
“Obviously, Jacob Zuma doesn’t have his own policies. Whatever he speaks to ought to be the policies of the ANC. So, you’ve got to understand first and foremost the economic policies of the ANC, and the intonation as to what it seeks to achieve as an immediate strategic task facing the people,” Kodwa noted.