Former President Jacob Zuma's staunch ally, Supra Mahumapelo, has pleaded with ANC leaders – those for and against Zuma – to stop debating his legacy in public.
Mahumaapelo expressed his views just a day after Zuma took over Twitter to defend his nine years as head of state.
He was responding to recent comments made by his successor Cyril Ramaphosa and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni about the country's "nine lost years". Ramaphosa often indicated that the period was one in which the country and the ANC had lost their moral compasses.
READ: 'These were not nine wasted years' – Zuma hits back at detractors in ANC
But Zuma hit back via Twitter, posting that, when he took over as leader, he "never once blamed any predecessor or pointed to any perceived failure of any predecessor."
"I do not think we have traded that trust and I remain proud of much of what we and the country achieved over the past decade. No, "Zuma posted.
Mahumapelo spoke to journalists during a lunch break at the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg where he and others are challenging the party's decision to dissolve the North West Provincial Executive Committee (PEC).
READ: Mahumapelo talks with ANC to find a political solution to court challenge
He said he wished all leaders would not air their views on the matter.
"We will continue to face difficulties and we will make mistakes along the way and our responsibility is to promise South Africans that we will forever work on improving on our mistakes, instead of pointing fingers," Mahumapelo said.
"Imagine if we started from Langalibalele Dube and point out every mistake that was there over the past 107 years, the ANC would not move forward," he added, referring to the party's first president.
Mahumapelo blamed some of the country's challenges on colonialism and apartheid, and acknowledged that there was no way of perfecting leadership.
Mahumapelo, known for his close relationship with the former president, said the blame game was not a direction South Africa should be taking.
"My request to the leadership of the ANC: Let's pause a bit, move away from this debate. It's not helpful for South Africa and the ANC," he said.
Can not stop people using my name
Mahumapelo insisted he had no links to the many political parties that were mushrooming across parts of the country.
Parties like the Mazibuye African Congress, the African Freedom Revolution (ACM) and the African Movement Movement (ACM) have recently been launched – all having some link to former president Jacob Zuma.
The ATM has bagged the support of long-time ANC member Mzwanele Manyi, while former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng decided to establish his own party – ACM.
Mahumapelo was once linked to the Mazibuye African Congress before it decided to turn its NGO idea into a political party. However, he denies any links to the party.
"I will always remain a member of the ANC until I die." It's not going to change and people will continue to link my name, for many years people continue to link my name. Mahumapelo.
When asked why he had not acted against those associating their organizations with his name, he said he had bigger things to worry about.
"It's up to them, I'm not interested in what they are doing," said Mahumapelo.
He added that it was important to keep the ANC united and relevant to South Africans.
"I can not run after people say this and that about me."
"It happens to me every hour of the day. Now it means if I do that, I'm going to be defocused and not focused on the work I have to do as an ANC member," he continued.
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