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Johannesburg - ANC policies need to be put into practice before they are criticised, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said on Wednesday.
“We are not going to perfect a concept here and wage a debate for 10 years until we turn blue [in the face],” he told reporters and academics in Soweto.
“We want to use a Chinese philosophy that development is an irrefutable argument. Any of these interventions [proposed by the ANC] can be proven to be working if they are implemented and applied. “We can only say they are failing if we implement them and they fail.”
Mantashe was speaking at a discussion on the policy outcomes of the party's national conference in December.
He said one of the issues that elicited debate was how the youth could get employment.
“This informed the decision that we should introduce the youth employment support and incentive scheme. We are not talking about the youth employment subsidy,” he said.
“The reason we use that term is because it must be a broad approach.”
He said it was possible that a subsidy could form part of the approach.
“What is driving us is the need to ensure that more and more young people are absorbed into the economy.”
One of the leading critics of the youth employment subsidy was the African National Congress's tripartite alliance partner, the Congress of SA Trade Unions.
The party had also received criticism for its call to declare education an essential service. Mantashe said doing so did not focus on the legal definition of the term.
“There have been attempts to push us towards the legal definition, [where people ask] is it banning striking amongst teachers?
“Education is not just about teaching, it is a broader intervention. The Limpopo [textbook] debacle points to the need of making education an essential service.
“That department [of education] must appreciate that if it does not deliver books there must be consequences... because they are dealing with what is essential to the development of the nation.”
He said declaring education an essential service was a call to mobilise society to take education seriously.
“The question of the right to strike is not on the table at this point in time. We are not talking about that,” Mantashe said.
He said the party was more determined than ever to defend the ANC brand.
“Others call it bullying and outbursts. It is an obligation on our part to defend that brand when it is under attack,” Mantashe said.
“We are not arrogant, we are not angry, we have an obligation to protect our movement.”
He said the poor behaviour of individual ANC leaders and cadres was often generalised to represent the organisation as a whole.