November 21, 2005

Mbeki stresses “unity and cohesion” of the national general council

President Thabo Mbeki has emphasised that his statements dealing with the Jacob Zuma affair can "by no stretch of imagination" be interpreted as expressing "a hostile or malicious attitude" to the former deputy president. In his regular internet column President Mbeki noted that personally he continued "to hold the Hon Jacob Zuma in high regard and I am convinced that this applies to members of Parliament ... we shall continue to draw on his experience and expertise where the need arises".
The president also emphasised that the national general council, the policy conference of the ANC, in July expressed its support for Zuma by not accepting his office to withdraw from his elected ANC position as the ruling movement's deputy president or second in command. This offer had initially been supported by the national working committee, the president noted.
Mbeki further argued that "unfortunately, since then, the entirely false assertion has been propagated that, during the period immediately preceding the national general council [NGC], the national working committee and the national executive committee had taken the initiative to remove the deputy president from his elected positions. “Accordingly, the decision of the NGC has erroneously been interpreted as a defeat of the elected leadership of our movement."
The president said these issues were frankly discussed by the national executive committee (NEC).
The NEC also addressed a variety of other important matters, "including the unity and cohesion of our movement, the need to deal with factional rumour-mongering, the need for the secretary general's office to coordinate activities in support of the deputy president, the obligation on members of the NEC to maintain close contact with the membership, processes leading to the election of our national leadership, and the need to engage the membership in mass work to advance the goals of the national democratic revolution". (The Mail & Guardian, Sapa)

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