ANC Denies 'Purging' Opposition From Government
By Peter Clottey
25 May 2009
South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) has denied its opponents' accusations of purging opposition sympathizers from government. This comes after the vice chancellor of the University of South African (UNISA) came under fire to resign.
He is alleged to be a sympathizer of the breakaway Congress of the People (COPE). The opposition described the move as an attempt by the ruling ANC to remove its suspected party members from the government. But the ANC dismissed the accusations, calling them farcical.
ANC youth league spokesman Floyd Shivambu told VOA that the ruling party wants due process to be followed.
"If they say that it would be just ridiculous, they say that there is an ANC strategy to try to purge people. It is just ridiculous. It is just nonsensical for anyone to ever imagine that," Shivambu said.
He said the accusation is unfounded and without merit.
"That is what COPE said, that is what they are imagining. It is their own imagination. It is not a reflection of reality. There is no such action," he said.
Shivambu said the ruling party is trying to push for the right things to be done in the case of the controversy surrounding the vice chancellor of UNISA.
"What the ANC government has said is that there are processes that have to be followed if a vice chancellor of a university has to be removed. Council still retains the right to take decisions on who should be removed," Shivambu said.
Meanwhile, President Zuma said Sunday that economic development and facilities should not be the sole preserve of previously whites-only suburbs.
The new president addressed hundreds of people at the official opening of a Pan African shopping centre in Alexandra Township. Zuma said the community needed to have all basic services that he said are taken for granted in historically white areas.
Zuma singled out for upgrade in neglected communities such basic services as shopping facilities, proper roads, electricity, water and sanitation, quality schools, clinics, and affordable public transport.
Shivambu said the new president should keep demonstrating the willingness of the ruling party to alleviate the suffering of ordinary people.
"The ANC is an open organization, and President Zuma is practicalizing that he is giving a practical meaning to a participatory open African National Congress," Shivambu said.
He said the ruling party is committed to average citizens and would keep its promise.
"The ANC is a movement of the people, so every time the people should guide whatever action, whatever program the ANC embarks on in government, and in whatever areas is leading," he said.
Shivambu dismissed as outrageous opposition claims that the ANC has failed to keep its promise of delivering top quality services to the people since 1994 when it assumed power.
"That is another urban legend that is being parroted by opposition parties. Obviously whenever they want to speak against the ANC they will portray a picture that there has never been service delivery," Shivambu said.
He said the ruling party's recent handsome win in the election is a show of confidence the people repose in the party.
"The people of South Africa have affirmed the African National Congress as leader of the society as leader of government with an overwhelming majority. So really, it doesn't make sense to say people are angry with the ANC," he said.
The leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance, Helen Zille who is also the new premier of Western Cape, is accusing the ANC of approving the transfer of more than 1,000 hectares of prime provincial housing land to the ANC government the day before the April 22 elections that were won by the ruling party.
But Shivambu dismissed Zille's accusation as sour grapes.
"Helen Zille is a sick person, who is generally sick. We really do not take anything she says very seriously," Shivambu said.
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