Zuma gets another chance to stem disillusionment

ANC President Jacob Zuma is expected to use his last January 8 statement at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Sunday to inspire renewed hope to disillusioned members.

Zuma, expected to step down during the ANC’s elective conference in December, is likely to use the party’s 105th anniversary celebrations to reconnect it with its core constituency following bruising municipal polls in August last year.

It is believed Zuma’s speech will focus on the economy, job creation and education and how to arrest the party’s declining support after losing key municipalities such as Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay to the opposition.

Speaking on the sidelines of the ANC’s special national executive committee meeting in Pretoria yesterday, secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said the gathering would finalise and decide on the details of the January 8 statement later this week.

The NEC is the ANC’s highest decision-making structure in between its national conferences.

“The NEC is busy discussing the draft and focusing on the content, focusing on the formulation [and] focusing on ensuring that [the statement] speaks to the people of South Africa.

“It points direction – by the time we present it we must all know what to do next, where to move to. That is the purpose of the January 8 statement,” he said.

“This is the statement that will be giving hope and direction to the activists and foot soldiers of the ANC.”

The last NEC meeting was a difficult one for the party and its leader, after some of its members called on him to step down following the public protector’s State of Capture report.