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Johannesburg - The resolutions of the ANC’s June policy indaba have not yet been circulated among branches, potentially creating a time crunch as policy discussions overlap with leadership nominations – set to open some time in October – for the ANC’s Mangaung national conference in December.
The party’s national executive committee (NEC) would hold a special meeting later this month, or next, to finalise the policy resolutions, its national spokesman, Jackson Mthembu, confirmed.
“Until the NEC agrees, they can’t be distributed. The NEC must give the green light,” he added.
It appears that last month’s NEC lekgotla, which was meant to have done a final check and clear the resolutions, did not find time for this. On its agenda were the Limpopo textbook crisis, and Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga’s role in it, as well as the auditor-general’s damning findings on municipal finances, backed up by the ANC monitoring and evaluation unit’s own report on local government.
The final phrasing of the resolutions is key. While ANC officials like secretary-general Gwede Mantashe have sought to dismiss confusion around what was agreed on nationalisation at the policy conference – wholesale nationalisation of mines was out, but “strategic nationalisation” after considering the merits of each case was on, said Mantashe recently – others do not seem to share this view.
ANC Youth League deputy president Ronald Lamola told Tshwane University of Technology students this week it was now just a question of what would be nationalised first, according to the Sowetan. “We believe iron ore, platinum, coal, magnesium and zinc must be nationalised. The same goes for companies like De Beers and Anglo American. We are currently debating what to take first,” he was quoted as saying.
Even Cosatu boss Zwelinzima Vavi expressed some reservations over what exactly the ANC policy conference had agreed, telling the SABC the final wording of the resolutions would be crucial.
The policy resolutions have to go before the Mangaung conference for adoption, amendment or rejection. Once adopted, they become official policies of the ruling party and are set to get onto the government’s agenda.
However, the track record of implementing ANC conference resolutions as part of the government’s policy regime has been chequered. Resolutions from the 2007 Polokwane conference on establishing a women’s ministry and abolishing the elite Scorpions were rapidly implemented – and the resolution on a media appeals tribunal sparked widespread debate on media accountability – but resolutions on the transformation of the judiciary have remained pending for more than a decade.
Meanwhile, the ANC is expecting to complete the audit of its branches by the end of the month. This is another key marker on the road to Mangaung as only branches in good standing can send delegates to the national conference. Only after the completion of the branch audits will nominations for leadership open in October.
However, there is no indication of an exact date at this stage.
The official ban on leadership discussions and lobbying until nominations open has not stopped the succession battle, with Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe touted publicly by the ANC Youth League as the next president and Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale also said to be in the running.
This week, the OR Tambo region became the focal point of the battle. According to Eastern Cape ANC spokesman Mlibo Qoboshiyane, the regional structure was dissolved when it was discovered that 591 delegates had cast votes in the leadership contest, while only 587 voting delegates had been accredited. However, critics like the youth league have slammed this as a move by the pro-President Jacob Zuma provincial party executive to take over after the reported victory of the pro-leadership change candidate by the narrowest of margins.
OR Tambo is the ANC’s second-biggest region, with about 80 000 members, second to eThekwini in KwaZulu-Natal with some 90 000 members.