WAR OVER ECON­OMY

ANC fac­tions bat­tle over con­cept

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - KHAYA KOKO, BHEKI MBANJWA AND SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI

THE ANC na­tional pol­icy con­fer­ence be­came the bat­tle­ground where deep di­vi­sions be­tween sup­port­ers of Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma and his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa were laid bare in the run-up to the party’s elec­tive con­fer­ence in De­cem­ber.

The Star has es­tab­lished, through sev­eral sources who at­tended the two eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion com­mis­sions, that at times dis­cus­sions de­gen­er­ated into fierce wars of words be­tween the two fac­tions.

Last night, the dis­agree­ments spilt over to the ple­nary as the var­i­ous com­mis­sions re­ported back on dis­cus­sions about Strat­egy and Tac­tics. The dis­cus­sions cen­tred on what or who could be iden­ti­fied as the “main en­emy of the rev­o­lu­tion”, said one source.

“Most del­e­gates felt that what was be­ing re­ported at the ple­nary was not a true re­flec­tion of what tran­spired and was agreed upon at com­mis­sions,” said an­other del­e­gate.

Zuma’s sup­port­ers pushed for white mo­nop­oly cap­i­tal to be sin­gled out as the pri­mary “en­emy of the rev­o­lu­tion”, while Ramaphosa’s have ar­gued that mo­nop­oly cap­i­tal is global and can­not be de­fined as white.

The Zuma sup­port­ers ar­gued that the term has al­ways been part of the party’s vo­cab­u­lary and that there was no need to dis­card it now.

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Lukhona Mn­guni said a dis­agree­ment over lan­guage had started be­fore the con­fer­ence and that this was be­ing used by the fac­tions to test their strength.

“Lan­guage, there­fore, started to de­fine fac­tions. If the con­fer­ence says there is no white mo­nop­oly cap­i­tal, the per­cep­tion will be that the fac­tion that has been us­ing white mo­nop­oly cap­i­tal has lost. The per­cep­tion will be that they do not have enough num­bers and vice versa”.

In the end, nine of the 11 com­mis­sions de­cided that “the phe­nom­e­non of mo­nop­oly cap­i­tal is a global one”, in what was re­garded as a psy­cho­log­i­cal vic­tory for Ramaphosa’s sup­port­ers.

ANC pol­icy guru and na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (NEC) mem­ber Joel Net­shiten­zhe said on the mat­ter: “It (mo­nop­oly cap­i­tal) man­i­fests it­self dif­fer­ently in var­i­ous parts of the globe and it would, there­fore, not be cor­rect to char­ac­terise ours as white mo­nop­oly cap­i­tal.”

In the com­mis­sions, the de­bates over the is­sue were so heated that some del­e­gates be­lieved mat­ters were headed for a fist fight, in what could be seen as a dress re­hearsal for the De­cem­ber con­fer­ence.

The stakes were so high that one of the com­mis­sions was at­tended by a num­ber of heavy­weights, in­clud­ing Zuma, for­mer fi­nance min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han, for­mer KZN premier Senzo Mchunu, Ekurhu­leni mayor Mzwandile Masina, KZN chair­per­son Sihle Zikalala, ANC Youth League pres­i­dent Collen Maine and ANCYL KZN sec­re­tary Than­dux­olo Sa­belo.

Dis­agree­ments also cen­tred on how best to ad­vance rad­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion, with the pro-Ramaphosa group ar­gu­ing against what it viewed as reck­less pro­pos­als that might lead to cap­i­tal flight.

Some del­e­gates at the con­fer­ence said pro-Zuma sup­port­ers and a “BEE group­ing” led by Mzwanele Manyi, a known Gupta sup­porter, “flooded” the com­mis­sion, headed by the party’s eco­nomics guru, Enoch Godong­wana.

Things al­legedly got heated in the com­mis­sion where NEC mem­ber and for­mer tourism min­is­ter Derek Hanekom was ha­rangued and forced to apol­o­gise for con­tend­ing that “ex­pro­pri­a­tion of land with­out com­pen­sa­tion is non­sense”.

“He (Hanekom) was booed by some el­e­ments. The youth league sec­re­tary-gen­eral (Njab­ulo Nzuza) threat­ened to lay a charge of mis­con­duct against him,” a source said.

“Some of us, union­ists, com­mu­nists and left­ies, spoke out in quick suc­ces­sion and chal­lenged the dom­i­nance of BEE peo­ple in the dis­cus­sion on eco­nomic pol­icy, whereas the con­stituency and vot­ers of the ANC are over­whelm­ingly poor, un­em­ployed and on so­cial grants,” the source added.

“It was bad, they were wag­ging fin­gers at him, it was re­ally bad. Sa­belo and Maine led the at­tacks against Hanekom,” said an­other del­e­gate.

Zuma’s sup­port­ers were said to be also “in­sist­ing” that the con­fer­ence re­solve that the ju­di­cial in­quiry into state cap­ture and cor­rup­tion “must be cast wider than the Gup­tas”.

The is­sue of the con­cept of white mo­nop­oly cap­i­tal be­ing part of ANC lex­i­con was sharply crit­i­cised this week by ANC Gauteng chair­per­son Paul Mashatile, who em­pha­sised to The Star that peo­ple were dis­tort­ing the party’s pol­icy by say­ing op­pos­ing white mo­nop­oly cap­i­tal had al­ways been the party’s pol­icy.

This was in re­sponse to Carl Niehaus, who wrote in The Sun­day In­de­pen­dent that Mashatile, Gauteng Premier David Makhura, Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Blade Nz­i­mande and for­mer fi­nance min­is­ter Trevor Manuel were sow­ing con­fu­sion by deny­ing that white mo­nop­oly cap­i­tal was an ANC con­cept. Niehaus is an NEC mem­ber of the Umkhonto weSizwe Mil­i­tary Vet­er­ans As­so­ci­a­tion, an or­gan­i­sa­tion said to be Gupta sup­port­ers.

PIC­TURE: SIMPHIWE MBOKAZI

TOUGH DAY: ANC pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma and deputy pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa at the ANC’s na­tional pol­icy con­fer­ence at Nas­rec yes­ter­day.

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