A grouping of long-standing African National Congress (ANC) members known as the ANC Stalwarts met in Johannesburg on Tuesday to discuss President Jacob Zuma’s January 8 address to the party faithful and its membership, made last week at the 105th anniversary of the ANC.
While the stalwarts were happy with the comments made at the anniversary celebration, held at Orlando Stadium in Soweto, stalwart Sydney Mufamadi said the theme ‘Unity in action’ spoke to the general concerns of the ANC over its much-publicised disunity.
“It's important that all ANC members unite to find a solution to the problems [being experienced],” said Mufamadi.
Reverend Frank Chikane noted that the ANC was not about itself but about the people.
"Our document ‘For the Sake of our People’ states the problems that need to be fixed. We are pleased that the leadership met us and that another meeting has been scheduled for Monday,” he said.
Chikane said more discussions would take place to resolve the issue of the stalwart’s desire that the ANC’s national consultative conference be held well before the policy conference.
The stalwarts want a separate national consultative conference to be held in March, instead of in June as part of the party’s policy conference.
Chikane said that the stalwarts would consult with other party structures such as the "energetic" youth league.
He added that they will also consult the Fees Must Fall movement.
Another stalwart, Murphy Morobe, stated that a sense of urgency needed to be emphasised, not just for the party, but for the country as well.
Chikane added that the stalwarts would prioritise meetings with the ANC military stalwarts league to assist them in reorganising themselves.
"They are a bank of wisdom with experience,” he added.
Commenting on a recent debate held by the ANC Women's League, Mufamadi said people needed to realise that there was more at stake than deciding who should take over as the next President of the organisation.
“There are issues that are more important than auditioning for leadership,” he said.
Chikane, meanwhile, told Polity that as stalwarts they could not comment on the statements made by some Zuma supporters who have supported him running for another term as ANC president.