ANC to postpone national general council

2015-03-29 15:01

The party needs to tie up some loose ends before it can sit down and discuss progress and future plans

The ANC is likely to postpone its national general council from June to September so that it has time to wrap up unfinished business.

The national general council is the most important meeting between conferences. It measures progress and maps out future priorities. In the past, it has been a bellwether of leadership changes.

City Press interviewed leaders across the spectrum of the trade unions, the SA Communist Party and those within the governing party, who confirmed internal discussions to postpone.

The ANC is meeting in Cape Town and is expected to finalise a decision on the matter, said spokesperson Keith Khoza.

Party leaders said the state of readiness for the council was a key factor. No discussion documents have yet been circulated – pointing to a likely postponement, as delegates would be ill prepared.

The ANC’s youth and women’s leagues have yet to hold their long-delayed conferences.

In his political report to the NEC this weekend, President Jacob Zuma merely said the national general council would take place later this year.

“As a result, subcommittees are called upon to do a firm audit of what has been achieved since December 2012 against the resolutions of the Mangaung conference,” he said.

“This exercise will enable us to know whether we are on course in executing the mandate of conference. It will also help us to know where we need to work harder or increase capacity.”

A provincial leader said national general councils were also about evaluating the performance of the leadership.

The last national general council, in Durban in 2010, saw pitched battles about nationalisation by the Youth League then led by Julius Malema.

Friction from that meeting later ended with the expulsion of Malema and the subsequent formation of the Economic Freedom Fighters. Members of the party said that was why it was important the national general council process was managed.

In his speech to the NEC yesterday, President Zuma focused on the youth and women’s league conferences, as well as the conferences of labour federation Cosatu and the SA Communist Party, which were all due to take place before the end of the year.

He, however, said most conferences were taking place outside of their normal schedules, either because of the need to respond to urgent matters that had arisen or correct certain things that may have gone wrong.

“In other words, the fact that we are having so many conferences in one year points to weaknesses and challenges in our movement that we must decisively deal with,” President Zuma said.

In his report, the president warned the party against too much interference in the affairs of the leagues. This is a somewhat surprising stance, given that Luthuli House has actively intervened in the affairs of the Youth League.

ANC leadership disbanded the NEC of the Youth League, then convened a national task team to run its affairs.

Party bosses later downgraded its national conference to a much less powerful consultative meeting.

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