Corruption funds S.Africa leadership battles: minister

1st November 2011, Comments 0 comments

A key ally of the African National Congress said Tuesday that the South African ruling party is plagued by perpetual leadership battles funded by dirty money.

Blade Nzimande, minister of higher education and head of the South African Communist Party, said in an interview with Business Day newspaper that the "terrible phenomenon" of leadership squabbles in the ANC and its allies was being funded by corruption.

"It is blood money, often gotten corruptly. They go around buying delegates," he said.

"We have to kill that phenomenon."

Nzimande's party governs together with the ANC and the country's top labour federation, Cosatu, in a pact known as the "tripartite alliance".

He made the charge as internal battles heat up ahead of an ANC conference in December 2012 that will decide the party's next leadership.

"They want to buy the organisations for wrong things, for purposes of narrow personal accumulation," Nzimande said of those sponsoring succession battles in the alliance.

"If those people can capture our organisations and the government, they will sell this country to the highest bidder."

President Jacob Zuma's future as ANC leader has come into question in the run-up to next year's conference, with the party's powerful youth league reportedly throwing its support behind Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.

Zuma himself rose to power in a bitter leadership battle with then-president Thabo Mbeki, which climaxed in an ANC conference in 2007 at which Zuma ousted Mbeki as party leader.

Mbeki resigned as president in the aftermath, and Zuma won as the party's candidate at the next presidential election in 2009.

South Africa's next general elections are in 2014, with the ANC seen as the overwhelming favourite to win.

© 2011 AFP

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