President Jacob Zuma is not the cause of decline of ANC votes in recent local government elections and those who were charging that he was the cause of decline are just being unfair towards him and making reckless statements.

That’s the view of Mpumalanga ANC chairman David Mabuza who was speaking to journalists during the weekend.

Mabuza first addressed the provincial executive committee lekgotla on Saturday morning and called for introspection on recent ANC local government election performance.

During his address, Mabuza said declines indicated challenges faced by the party. “This is a clear indication that a vast majority of our voters stayed away from the polling stations for various reasons,” he said.

“I dont agree with these voices that are saying the ANC has received this poor showing, the ANC has declined, gone down because of its president. Those who don’t understand the ANC will say that and those that are malicious will say that.

“But were was the president when branches of the ANC were faltering with the process? Where was the president when leaders of the ANC at and REC level were imposing candidate? Its wrong,” he told the lekgotla.

WATCH: Mabuza throws down the gauntlet 

But during the hour he spent answering questions from journalists at

the Casa do Sol Hotel in Hazyview after delivering his political overview, the chairman of the party in Mpumalanga said he was pained to see ANC

veterans “stabbing the ANC from behind”.

“It’s painful to hear a leader that I admired, a leader that I followed at a particular time, stabbing the ANC from behind,” Mabuza told journalists politely.

“Very painful. They have got all the rights to come and say ‘you have not done things the right way’, I’ll accept that,” he said.

“But to be grandstanding and trying to be prove that you are better off is not going to entice us, it will not make us feel good. You can only play for the gallery and don’t think those people that are laughing they love you as you talk, they don’t. They see you as a lost somebody,” Mabuza said.

In recent time, Zuma has had ANC stalwarts, including Rivonia trialist Ahmed Kathrada, calling for his stepping down as both the President of the country and ANC.

Mabuza said all ANC members knew the problems faced by and didn’t understand why these icons were making “reckless statements”.

ANC President Jacob Zuma. PICTURE BY MfisoDIGITAL

ANC President Jacob Zuma. PICTURE BY MfisoDIGITAL

 

“But of course some of these perceptions have been created that the ANC has declined because of Jacob Zuma and we feel it’s unfair because we are all participants and we know the problems,” he said.

“The ANC encompasses all that is good. It’s only a leader at a particular time, so I’ll be happy if you confront me and say, ‘you must step down, you are not leading this ANC of ours in the right direction’. That’s a right approach. Not grandstanding and especially those of our leaders who were once part of the leadership of the movement, some of their statement are very reckless. Some of us we have learnt from them. We have followed them as leaders and we feel they are just impatient, getting reckless and I don’t know why. I still expect them to do constructive criticism and work for the ANC because the ANC has made them what they are today. But they’ve forgotten that,” said Mabuza, who is also the Premier of Mpumalanga.

On the Occupy Luthuli House group, Mabuza said the group was just lost, saying that marching to Luthuli House is “marching to yourself”.

He added those who wanted Zuma to leave office before his term expires didn’t understand that when Zuma leaves “our problems remain’.

“So, we are not going to mess ourselves up because we want to satisfy a certain section, no. Let’s deal with our problems entirely and we have realised that there is a need for unity and even those comrades must refrain from doing such things, they belong to the ANC. They are our comrades. If they have got issues to raise they know how best to raise them and no one is disagreeing that we might have, as the leadership of the ANC at all levels in this current period, betrayed our people, we have not work very well.

“I think we have not attended problems on time and these problems played themselves out in the open and they resulted into some of our people becoming unhappy with the ANC. But these short-comings cannot be ascribed to one leader, a problem in Gauteng belongs to Paul Mashatile. There’s a provincial executive committee there. Paul must account on the loss of Tshwane and Johannesburg. The problems of Mpumalanga belongs to me. I must account on the decline of our votes in Steve Tshwete and Govan Mbeki municipalities and I can’t say Secretary General Gwede Mantashe must come and account on these because this is my province, so it’s unfair to ascribe or to try and attribute all our problems to one person and these comrades they know very well”.

SEE ALSO: Mabuza uses provincial lekgotla to reflect on what went wrong FULL TEXT

(edited by MLM)

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