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GAYE DAVIS and SHANTI ABOOBAKER
DELEGATES to the ANC’s policy conference have endorsed broad plans for radical change over the next two decades aimed at dealing with poverty, unemployment and inequality – but ditched the notion of calling this a “second transition”.
Instead, the policy roadmap will be known as the “second phase of the transition”, and will embrace all the features of the strategy and tactics document adopted by the ANC at its 2007 Polokwane conference.
The “second transition” was linked by some to President Jacob Zuma’s bid for a second term. Senior ANC leaders last night said it had taken less than an hour for delegates in a plenary session to reach broad agreement on the document’s thrust. They insisted delegates were not divided along lines of support either for Zuma or his deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe.
This was despite the first signs of underlying tensions linked to the as yet undeclared succession battle emerging yesterday in a stand-off between KwaZulu-Natal supporters of Zuma and delegates wanting leadership change.
Singing Savumelana isecond transition (we all agree on the second transition)”, a small group of KwaZulu-Natal delegates flocked into the Progressive Business Forum’s exhibition hall just as Motlanthe was concluding a walkabout.
They then made their way out of the exhibition hall and towards the plenary hall, still singing and raising the two fingers indicating a second term for Zuma, who has defended the songs being sung at the Gallagher Convention Centre as acceptable because they were about leaders who were “the face of the party”.
But the group’s antics did not go down well with other delegates milling about in the winter sunshine, with some making the roly-poly soccer substitution signal and shouting “change!”, while others used their hands to make a showerhead gesture, associated with Zuma’s court testimony that he had showered to prevent infection after sex with an HIV-positive woman he was acquitted of raping.
Despite this, ANC policy chief Jeff Radebe was adamant when briefing journalists yesterday evening that there were no opposing groupings – while Tony Yengeni, head of the committee that drafted the “second transition” document, accused those who linked it to a second term for Zuma as “absolutely mischievous”.
“Let me clarify this so that we take the elephant out of this room,” Radebe said.
“There are no Zuma supporters or Kgalema supporters. People support the ANC and right now President Zuma is the president of the ANC – that is why the songs that were even sung there, they sing about the ANC and the president of the ANC.
“The commissions, there are no groupings there,” Radebe claimed.