ANC meet­ing deemed a warm-up

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - NEWS - TSHEGO LEPULE

THE ANC’s pol­icy con­fer­ence start­ing on Fri­day has been de­scribed as a dress re­hearsal for the rul­ing party’s na­tional elec­tive con­fer­ence in De­cem­ber.

With thou­sands of del­e­gates ex­pected to gather at the Nas­rec Expo Cen­tre in Jo­han­nes­burg, a flurry of ac­tiv­i­ties is un­der way as prov­inces con­clude their pro­vin­cial con­fer­ences to get a man­date for del­e­gates on pol­icy is­sues for dis­cus­sion at the five-day event.

Com­ing out of the pro­vin­cial con­fer­ences, how­ever, are in­di­ca­tions of which can­di­dates are pre­ferred by the party’s struc­tures to suc­ceed Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma.

Fron­trun­ners ANC deputy pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa and former AU chief Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma have been re­ceiv­ing wide­spread sup­port, with Gaut­eng set on Ramaphosa and KwaZulu-Na­tal call­ing for Dlamini Zuma to take the helm. Ramaphosa also re­ceived a warm wel­come at the Western Cape’s pol­icy con­fer­ence.

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst So­madoda Fikeni said al­though per­ti­nent is­sues could be raised dur­ing the con­fer­ence, the fo­cus of many del­e­gates would be around can­di­dates to suc­ceed Zuma.

“What is likely to come out of the con­fer­ence is the thrash­ing out of is­sues in­clud­ing the state cap­ture saga and the re­it­er­a­tion the party’s po­si­tion on the is­sue around rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion and how to im­ple­ment it. But at the heart of it will be the is­sue around pre­ferred can­di­dates for the na­tional con­fer­ence,” Fikeni said.

“What one sees with the pro­vin­cial pol­icy con­fer­ences that have been tak­ing place is which side prov­inces are lean­ing to­wards with re­gards to which can­di­date to en­dorse.

“This pol­icy con­fer­ence will be a re­hearsal and spar­ring ses­sion for De­cem­ber, very lit­tle time will be spent on ad­dress­ing poli­cies and mak­ing re­flec­tions. Any­thing said will be a proxy for the on­go­ing wars.”

Act­ing chair­per­son of the ANC in the Western Cape, Khaya Ma­gaxa, said the del­e­gates at­tend­ing the con­fer­ence would not be dis­tracted by the suc­ces­sion de­bate.

“As the Western Cape, we are de­ter­mined not to be side­tracked by the flurry around who will the leader of the ANC. To us, those are two sep­a­rate con­fer­ences and we will abide by that,” Ma­gaxa said.

“We are not go­ing to al­low com­rades to hi­jack this con­fer­ence and turn it into a mini-elec­tive con­fer­ence.

“As to our po­si­tion on the na­tional lead­er­ship is­sue, we are not a prov­ince that is too di­vided on the mat­ter, if there are dif­fer­ences it will be mi­nor dif­fer­ences, but we re­main com­mit­ted to ad­her­ing to the call of not rush­ing to make pro­nounce­ments. “Those (mak­ing pro­nounce­ments) are clearly des­per­ate, and we as the Western Cape are not.”

Re­spond­ing to the nom­i­na­tion by a few branches in the Western Cape of former ANC trea­surer Mathews Phosa as a can­di­date, Ma­gaxa said such ac­tions were not recog­nised by pro­vin­cial lead­er­ship.

“We are not wor­ried about in­di­vid­u­als go­ing around ac­cept­ing nom­i­na­tions from branches when we have not had a sin­gle branch gen­eral meet­ing, that will hap­pen when we come back from the pol­icy con­fer­ence.”

“Only then will we gauge from the pro­cesses who the pre­ferred can­di­dates are, and pro­ceed with mak­ing our nom­i­na­tion known, we will not im­pose our­selves on branches, we are not des­per­ate.” ANC GAUT­ENG chair­per­son Paul Mashatile has warned that the rul­ing party is in cri­sis and this was caused by its present lead­er­ship.

“Un­for­tu­nately, things have gone hor­ri­bly wrong. The ANC is per­ceived as ar­ro­gant, it em­braces cor­rup­tion, and is me­diocre,” he told the ANC Gaut­eng pol­icy con­fer­ence in Irene, Pre­to­ria, last night.

But while the ANC was fac­ing chal­lenges, he said they were not in­sur­mount­able. “The ANC has faced chal­lenges be­fore. We sur­vived be­cause we lis­tened; we are not in de­nial.”

Mashatile said they wel­comed the state cap­ture in­quiry as this would “help the ac­cused to clear their names”.

He also called on the ANC to re­turn to its val­ues and to reclaim its stand­ing as a leader in so­ci­ety, and wanted to call on other like-minded or­gan­i­sa­tions that shared sim­i­lar val­ues to do the same.

The key speaker, ANC sec­re­tary- gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe, called for unity within the party. “Through unity we are very, very strong,” he said, ad­ding that he was con­cerned about the health of the or­gan­i­sa­tion at present.

The tri­par­tite al­liance, he said, was in dis­ar­ray.

Man­tashe said the mem­bers of the ANC had to elect lead­er­ship that would sig­nal that the loot­ing is over.

He also said that it was a myth that Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s re­moval would solve the prob­lem. It would di­vide the ANC as he still has sup­port, he said. – Shaun Smillie

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