ANC members advocating for change within the ruling party have reacted ambivalently to the re-election of Jacob Zuma to the position of the party president. By ERIN McLUCKIE and THAPELO LEKGOWA/NewsFire.
“All is not lost,” said, Poifo Ramotlatsi, ANC provincial spokesperson for North Westm shortly after Zuma's comprehensive victory was confirmed. “Some people worked hard to turn around votes to their side, but we will go back and regroup – it does not end here.”
This hopeful tone seems to be the thread that is holding the Forces for Change faction together – the promise of change in the form of a different fight, a different victory.
However, not all members are as hopeful as Ramotlatsi. Motlanthe supporter Steve Lebeko’s brow is furrowed as he contemplates what the announcement of Zuma’s victory will mean for him. He said, “I am disappointed because now we are going to be subjected to the leadership of Gwede Mantashe and Jacob Zuma – that is the problem.”
Others vowed to contest the results, claiming that the entire process was illegal.
“Now that Zuma has won we have to consider other options, but the Youth League will never support Zuma,” Forces of Change supporter Serame Nthako said. The disappointment among pro-change members was however plainly evident. “Zuma is a dog,” one audience member shouted in derision.
Still others showed loyalty to the party. “We lost the conference dismally,” said Class Mabunda, another member in favour of change. “We are bound by the decision of the majority and we will abide by it.”
Mabunda however committeed to rebuild the ANC. “We still maintain our fight to rebuild the ANC and save it – we are not cry-babies, we have to get ourselves up and fight,” he said.
Various provincial delegations that form part of the Forces of Change campaign will be meeting in the township of Mangaung on Wednesday – the fourth day of the conference – to discuss the way forward.
On the other side of the fence, the pro-Zuma faction was jubilant. Gweden Kegakilwe, Deputy Provincial Secretary for the North West, said “We are very happy on the results and have nothing against those who were opposing the team that we wanted to lead the ANC.” Kegakilwe extended an olive brance to former ANC deputy president Kgalema Mothlanthe. “We respect people like Kgalema Motlanthe and their contribution and will continue to respect them and hope they continue to contribute as senior members of the organisation,” he said. DM
Photo: Forces of Change supporters in a tense stand-off with police as it becomes clear that Kgalema Motlanthe's star has fallen, 17 December 2012 (Greg Marinovich/NewsFire).