On the way out, Zuma takes on alliance critics

President Jacob Zuma. Picture: ANN7

In his final political report of the ANC, outgoing president Jacob Zuma chose to tackle some of his detractors with the Tripartite Alliance.

Speaking to delegates of the national elective conference, currently underway in at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg, Zuma said personal differences between leaders had “unfortunately” been elevated to the level of organisational disagreements.

“That is absolutely unacceptable,” Zuma said.

The Tripartite Alliance has been under considerable strain in the run up to the national conference.

Trade union federation Cosatu has made consistent calls for Zuma to vacate his office. The union has also participated in a number of anti-Zuma marches.

On Saturday, Zuma said he had been particularly “disturbed” by Cosatu’s decision that he be banned from addressing its May Day celebrations and subsequent events.

“In an unprecedented move, we saw in the past few months our alliance partners marching side by side with right wing forces who are historical opponents of our democratic revolution calling on the President of the ANC to step down,” he said.

Related: Cosatu may exit if Ramaphosa fails

The SACP was also not spared of Zuma’s admonishment, having recently decided to contest a local by-election in the Metsimaholo municipality in the Free State on its own.

“It’s not a good report to be given considering where we come from as an alliance.”

Tensions within the alliance were also seen to have reached boiling point when Zuma booted out Blade Nzimande as Minister of Higher Education during a reshuffle in October.

However, towards the end of his political report, a more conciliatory Zuma told those gathered that he bore no grudges against anyone.

“I understand that it is all politics and I want you to know that you are my comrades and I bear no grudges to any of you.”

He also added that engagement with alliance partners during their regular meetings should go a long towards fostering unity and ironing out any issues.

“This conference must discuss these new developments and provide direction having given due regard to the proposals of the SACP around the reconfiguration of the alliance in line with the new conditions of struggle,” Zuma said.

-Siphiwe Mchunu