ANC presidential hopeful Mathews Phosa has acknowledged the money clad elephant in the midst of the ongoing national elective conference.
Speaking to ANN7, Phosa said allegations of bribery and the buying of votes had in fact been a factor in the race to elect Jacob Zuma’s successor.
“It is true that money has played a role in this conference and its run up. It is unfortunate. ANC members must be principled and use their own consciousness,” Phosa said.
However, when questioned whether he had any knowledge about claims that voting delegates had been wined and dined by big business in order to influence their votes, Phosa said he did not know of those specific allegations.
ANC KZN former chairperson Sihle Zikalala, in particular, has made damning allegations that delegates were entertained by Bidvest at the popular Monte Casino in Johannesburg.
Phosa said that if there was any substance to the allegations, they ought to be looked into, despite sounding unenthusiastic about the prospects of success for such a probe.
“Who is going to investigate them? This outgoing National Executive Committee (NEC) must be found guilty of allowing that to happen.”
In his speech, while delivering his final political report, outgoing president Jacob Zuma said that the ANC was being “threatened” by some business elements to elect a particular candidate or face economic implosion.
THE ANC AND THE COURTS
Meanwhile, Phosa said that the number of court cases brought against the ANC was the result of not having adequate internal processes to deal with disputes.
“If you look at the cases that went to court they went before ANC structures before they went to court. What you need is capacity to solve your problems internally.”
Phosa had challenged the results of the Mpumalanga Provincial General Council (PGC) following the emergence of 232 votes for a unofficial “unity” candidate. However his court application was set aside by the North Gauteng High Court.
Delivering his political report yesterday, Zuma was fiercely critical of members who took the ANC to court.
Zuma told delegates that once a member took the party to court, they should consider themselves no longer a member of the ANC.
However, Phosa said that the ANC needed to deal with the causes of what ultimately drove members to resolve disputes through court processes.
“There is no one who is disgruntled. We raised issues which were stone-walled from within, leaving court as an only option.”
‘NOT BOWING OUT’
Phosa also indicated that he remained firmly in the presidential race and had no thoughts of bowing-out.
This comes after fellow candidate and outgoing national chairperson Baleka Mbete yesterday folded her campaign and endorsed Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa as her preferred candidate.
“Whomever wins should be supported and no one should divide the ANC.”
Phosa also complained that the ANC had been unable to deal effectively with slate politics.
“We said we want to get rid of slates but the reality is different. We have entrenched the slates but the policy positions of the conference must stay in place.”