“Gauteng doesn’t need leaders who are obsessed with television,” it can also do without those who are “obsessed with themselves and their personal brands,” so says African National Congress (ANC) Ekurhuleni secretary Thembinkosi “TK” Nciza.
The businessman is vying for the position of secretary when the ANC in Gauteng eventually sits for its much-anticipated provincial conference in just a few weeks.
Nciza has also called for an end to the “conservative” approach to politics, warning that every day the governing party loses supporters and will continue in this trajectory at the 2024 general polls and beyond if the younger generation in the ANC doesn’t rise up and take over the reins.
It’s likely that his warnings will not fall on deaf ears within his organisation, as the party in Gauteng, which is South Africa’s economic hub is a few votes short of losing power – it narrowly won control of the province in 2019, garnering 50.19% of the votes cast.
“The leadership that’s needed is one of people who will build structures of the ANC street by street, corner to corner, not people who want to be councilors but those who advocate for the interests of people,” says Nciza.
The outgoing regional secretary is also contesting to be re-elected into his old position, a move usually seen as a safety net and a show of power, which he will abandon should his bid to become provincial secretary succeed.
Nciza is on a slate with the province’s head of elections and cooperative governance MEC Lebogang Maile – they are up against Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, who’s contesting Maile for chair, while Nzica will face off with Sedibeng leader and provincial elections manager, Thulani Kunene, as well as outgoing provincial secretary Jacob Khawe.
Nciza, who’s been mocked by some in support of Lesufi, calling him a “kwaito star” due to his business background, also did not shed more light on whether his dig about those who chase TV time was aimed at Lesufi, who’s often been painted as a darling of the media.
“People in Gauteng are not robots,” remarks Nciza, when asked about the nomination process outcomes.
Nominations have not been along the proposed slates put forward, suggesting very much like the 2017 ANC national conference outcomes, that delegates might select different leaders and force them to work together.
This is at odds with what’s been taking place in some of the provinces who’ve already elected new leadership, with both Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape producing clean sweeps for the winning slates.
“People in Gauteng are fearless, as much as one can talk about the buying of votes, here it doesn’t necessarily sway their votes,” observed Nciza.
“The level of maturity and people being allowed to express themselves without fear,” is how he believes Gauteng ANC members define themselves.
Nciza says there’s a lot of work to be done in the province’s ANC branches, arguing that the ANC has suffered due to some of its own members’ obsession with occupying government positions and attaining the perks that come with it.
He says any organisation run this way will become weak, as its leaders will no longer be able to advocate properly in the interests of those they claim to represent.
The regional secretary also takes issue with the concept of renewal in the ANC being “boxed as step-aside,” he says it has to be more holistic and address the attitudes of party members.
“The interest in government and its perks are getting in the way of our renewal, they stand in between the two. Those who want to lead at all costs and have these perks will do anything to get rid of other comrades,” said Nciza.
Of the contentious step aside resolution, Nciza says it will be up to the national conference in December to decide what to do with it, but insists whatever members decide, they must keep in mind the integrity of the organization.
“You must come up with ways and means of protecting the ANC, those who have done wrong must be able to answer, one way or another, we can’t be ambiguous about that. However, we must have a clear policy position on that issue, we can’t move the ball all the time,” he remarked.
The ANC in Gauteng is due to hold its provincial conference from 3 to 5 June.
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