ANC’s reaction to civil society conference reeks of paranoia

2010-11-03 12:35

The ANC’s scathing reaction to last week’s civil society conference was “reminiscent of the paranoia of the Mbeki era”, the conference co-hosts said today.

“It is a conduct that suggests the ANC or some of the people who hide under its flag have something to fear,” said Section27 executive director Mark Heywood.

Section27 and the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) co-hosted a civil society conference with the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) last week, a move that angered the ANC.

The ANC’s national working committee yesterday accused Cosatu and civil society of taking an oppositionist stance towards the ANC-led government.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe raised caution over attempting to affect regime change.

TAC chairperson Nonkhosi Khumalo said civil society would not apologise for going ahead with the conference.

“We don’t need a stamp of approval from them [the ANC],” she said.

Heywood added that the reaction from the national working committee was not surprising since people such as former communications minister Siphiwe Nyanda, convicted fraudster Tony Yengeni and ANC Youth League president Julius Malema all sat on the working committee and were “people mired in allegations of corruption”.

The TAC and Section27 believed that the national working committee should have welcomed the conference and said that in hindsight it still would not have moved to invite the political parties.

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