File picture: Sizwe Ndingane

Johannesburg – The African National Congress (ANC) veterans, concerned with the problems facing the governing party, are worried that party top leadership do not seem to be committed to urgently deciding on a proposed national policy conference.

More than 100 struggle stalwarts held a meeting on Thursday. 

They said they noted that their proposal to separate the party’s consultative conference from its national policy conference scheduled to be held in Johannesburg in June, was not part of the ANC NEC Lekgotla discussions that took place over the weekend.

“The stalwarts noted with disappointment that the de-linking of the national consultative conference from the policy conference was not mentioned in the press briefing and statement of the last NEC of the 25th January 2017."

“Also, no mention was made of the ongoing discussions between the ANC Officials and the stalwarts. This does raise questions on the commitment to the process of introspection and the importance of the agreed consultative conference as an integral part of that process,” the stalwarts said in a statement on Friday.

The veterans called for the consultative conference in response to infighting within the party, and expressed concerns that the ANC’s deepening crisis, attributed to corruption and factionalism, required urgent attention.

Following meetings between the veterans and the ANC’s top leadership which began last year, the party agreed to the consultative conference and decided that it would be held two days before the policy conference.

The stalwarts disagreed and demanded a separate consultative conference from the June policy conference. They proposed that it be held in March this year.

The main responsibility for organising the consultative conference lay with the ANC NEC, they said.

“The stalwarts reaffirm that the organisation of the consultative conference is an ANC NEC decision on the recommendation of the stalwarts, and will be jointly organised by the NEC and the stalwarts. Other structures should be involved, which will be the subject of future discussion. The stalwarts will continue to engage with ANC structures and wider civil society, including the youth, to hear their concerns in line with the ANC’s commitment to introspection.”

The 106 veterans include respected anti-apartheid struggle figures such as Ahmed Kathrada, Andrew Mlangeni, Gertrude Shope, Denis Golberg, Mavuso Msimang, Sheila Sisulu and Ben Turok.

They authored a document titled “For the Sake of Our Future” in which they decried the deteriorating political and economic situation in the country, rampant corruption, “the inability of the ANC to act against corruption, nepotism, factionalism, arrogance and election slates in the ANC and its alliance partners”.

African News Agency