Jovial Zuma attends ANC elections workshop


Johannesburg — Former president Jacob Zuma made an appearance at an ANC elections workshop — a clear indication that he will campaign for the party leading up to 2019 national elections.
Speculations over Zuma’s fate has run rampant since he was recalled by the national executive committee in February. The former president is the first to attend an ANC event as an ex-officio member since late president Nelson Mandela.
Zuma seemed in good spirits at Birchwood Hotel on the East Rand on Saturday, laughing and making jokes with journalists during the commission meeting, which was attended by NEC members.
He was seated next to newly appointed minister of higher education, Naledi Pandor who President Cyril Ramaphosa indicated as his preferred running mate in the run up to the ANC’s elective conference in December. The embattled former president made his first public appearance at his home province of KwaZulu-Natal earlier in the week.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe told journalists on Saturday that former presidents will start attending party events leading up to the 2019 elections. Former presidents Thabo Mbeki as well as Kgalema Motlanthe never attended NEC events after their terms ended.
“All the former presidents and deputy presidents, including Zuma — they are beginning to heed the call, we will start seeing more of them.”
He added that the former presidents will be expected to work with the party around political education.
Elections head Fikile Mbalula promised to run a ‘positive’ campaign. He said the 2019 national elections promised to be a highly contested one, however the ANC was open to the task.
“We will not be negative against our opponents. We are not going to play the person. We want to run a positive campaign. That is what we going to do.”
The ANC’s campaign goal was to ensure a decisive win, he added. He then promised that while the party will celebrate its gains during the elections, ANC members will not be arrogant.
“[The] ANC talks about overwhelming victory, which is going to come from our hard work and engaging with our people. We don’t take our people for granted. It is not a given, that the ANC will get this majority. We have got to work hard.”
He said action against corruption and the attitude towards members implicated in corrupt dealings needed decisive action by the ANC and would be watched closely by voters.
Echoing Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address’ mention of a Hugh Masekela song, Mbalula said: “It is a campaign that says (Thuma mina) it means send me… It ushers in a season of hope in the republic. Members of the ANC must not only embrace but must demonstrate in practice what that message means practically.”
Meanwhile, capacity building programmes for unemployed women on how to produce sanitary pads and run a business to supply government-issued sanitary pads should be offered to primary and high school pupils, the ANC Women’s League has said.
“Government can later source the sanitary towels from women-owned businesses. There are many things like free stationary, free condoms, et al that government is providing but the biggest suppliers of those items remain male-owned businesses, in particular white. Radical socio-economic transformation must be in theory and in practice in all sectors,” secretary general Meokgo Matuba said in a statement.
The ANCWL’s comments come after Minister of Women in the Presidency Bathabile Dlamini last week reportedly told Parliament’s Multiparty Women’s Caucus that pupils will soon receive free pads, IOL reported.
Matuba said government had in the past committed to supply free sanitary towels to girl scholars, but there had been no full implementation in some provinces.
“The ANCWL calls for the ANC-led government to put timelines to implement this decision which will bring much needed relief to many girl learners who are from poor and working class families.
“Various reports have indicated that the majority of the girl learners who cannot afford sanitary towels resort to unhygienic methods of using clothes rags and newspapers during their menstruation and that poses health risks to them,” she said.
“While notwithstanding the strides made by the ANC led government by providing free condoms, it is our firm view that sanitary towels must also be freely available particularly for girl learners from poor and working class families. Unlike sex, menstruation is not a choice but natural occurrence.”
Matuba said the women’s league would mobilise its members, supporters and society in general to embark on a campaign for Treasury to add sanitary towels into the list of items zero-rated on value-added tax (VAT).
“VAT on sanitary towels contributes towards deliberate impoverishment of women. Menstruation is not a choice but a natural occurrence.” — Sapa

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