ANC fac­tions could abuse pol­icy con­fer­ence

CityPress - - News - S’THEMBILE CELE sthem­bile.cele@city­

ANC na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (NEC) mem­ber Lindiwe Sisulu (pic­tured) has warned that the ANC pol­icy con­fer­ence could be ren­dered use­less by fac­tions in the ANC, who have pri­ori­tised the bid­ding of their pre­ferred can­di­dates over poli­cies.

“We are so en­grossed in name-drop­ping that we are not keep­ing our eye on what it is that is im­por­tant to our peo­ple. To our peo­ple it is not the names that we are club­bing in cor­ners to talk about, it is how we are chang­ing their lives. We are chas­ing the wrong thing and I would have pre­ferred that we con­cen­trate on the pol­icy con­fer­ence and deal with the names later,” Sisulu told City Press.

Dur­ing the last sit­ting of the NEC, the ANC opted to open up the suc­ces­sion de­bate by giv­ing the go-ahead for struc­tures to start dis­cussing names of pre­ferred can­di­dates to make up the of­fi­cials which will be elected at the na­tional elec­tive con­fer­ence in De­cem­ber. The pol­icy con­fer­ence, which will be­gin on Friday, will be­come the bat­tle­ground for fac­tions, which will align them­selves with the poli­cies that will be cham­pi­oned by their pre­ferred can­di­dates. Sisulu lamented the fact that the con­fer­ence would serve as a proxy war in­stead of do­ing the work of for­mu­lat­ing poli­cies that will change the lives of South Africans. “The tragedy is that in­deed even in the pol­icy con­fer­ence, we are likely to find a sce­nario where it will be fac­tions meet­ing rather than com­mit­tees meet­ing.” Speak­ing on the re­cently leaked Gupta emails, Sisulu said the ANC has failed to deal with the is­sue prop­erly be­cause of the “fac­tional sit­u­a­tion” ex­is­tent in the party. “I would have wished that our se­cu­rity en­vi­ron­ment could have taken con­trol. We have had sit­u­a­tions like this, we have had doc­u­ments bought to us and we have been able to say this is ver­i­fi­ably true and this ver­i­fi­ably un­true,” she said.

The NEC mem­ber also warned that fail­ure to deal with is­sues like the Gupta emails could lead to the re­ver­sal of the gains made by the ANC.

“For as long as the wa­ter is mud­died like this, any­thing is pos­si­ble.

“No revo­lu­tion is ir­re­versible, it should not ever hap­pen to us. We, more than any other revo­lu­tion, should be on our toes to make sure we guard the sac­ri­fices that bought us here.”

Sisulu has been a firm sup­porter of giv­ing space to the veter­ans of the party to have their say on the cur­rent state of the or­gan­i­sa­tion. Veter­ans have snubbed a pro­posal of the ANC to ded­i­cate the first two days of the pol­icy con­fer­ence to dis­cussing the cur­rent state of the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

A num­ber of NEC mem­bers have also ques­tioned the mo­tives of the veter­ans. The most re­cent of these has been Po­lice Min­is­ter Fik­ile Mbalula, who re­port­edly said: “We can’t be black­mailed by the stal­warts who are filthy and stink­ing rich, be­cause they ben­e­fited from BEE. If they have made up their minds to sell out, they must leave the ANC out of it.” Sisulu hit back, say­ing those who have cast as­per­sions on the veter­ans are wrong to do so. “Let the per­son who picks up the stone and throws it be quite cer­tain that they have con­trib­uted to this coun­try more than our veter­ans and none of them would. None of them would. “And for any of our mem­bers of the NEC who might feel that the veter­ans have got an ul­te­rior mo­tive, to say let us give it a chance. It is im­por­tant. We had a dis­cus­sion with the Bo­ers that had killed us, why would we not give space to our own?” Sisulu’s sup­port­ers have hit the ground run­ning, call­ing for her to be con­sid­ered to suc­ceed Ja­cob Zuma in De­cem­ber, while oth­ers have her tipped for the po­si­tion of deputy pres­i­dent.

TALK TO US Some be­lieve that fac­tions in the ANC have pri­ori­tised the bid­ding of can­di­dates over pol­icy.

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