Enemies become friends

2012-06-23 17:24

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe goes into this week’s ANC policy conference slightly on the back foot after hardly anyone arrived at an event he hosted in his own parliamentary constituency.

Motlanthe visited Soshanguve, north of Pretoria, on Friday as the country’s deputy president to talk to young people about “developmental issues”.

Local ANC leaders scrambled for more than two hours to find young people to attend but the Tshwane regional leadership said the ANC in the region hadn’t been told about his visit.

Event coordinator, ANC Gauteng MPL Molebatsi Bopape, defended the turnout afterwards, calling it satisfactory.

During the event, though, he said: “We were scared this hall would be empty.”

The embarrassment came a week after Motlanthe ostensibly put up his hand as a contender to replace President Jacob Zuma, questioning the party’s policy on a “second transition”.

Motlanthe has been shy to step forward as a presidential candidate, and this has led to party leaders in Tshwane campaigning for Minister of Human Settlements Tokyo Sexwale instead.

This week’s ANC policy conference in Midrand is considered a way for lobbying groups to test leader support.

It comes as lobbyists in Zuma’s camp waver about whether to support the ANC’s call for a “second transition”, a policy discussion document which, until now, has been used by Zuma and his supporters as a rallying call for re-election.

The second transition was the brainchild of the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) member in charge of political education, Tony Yengeni, who led the team that wrote the document with ANC staffer Febe Potgieter-Gqubule.

Another ANC official involved in drawing up the document said it was supposed to capture the youth league’s “economic freedom in our lifetime” slogan.

Provinces which favour a leadership change – Limpopo, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng and Western Cape – and the youth league have rejected the second transition.

Pro-change ANC members like Sydney Mufamadi and Frank Chikane also slammed it at an ANC branch meeting in Midrand on Thursday.
Chikane said it was “not an ANC document” and needed to be rewritten, while Mufamadi said it was unlike the ANC to separate political and socio-economic transformation into two transitions.

Even those seen as pro-Zuma have questioned the policy.

SACP deputy-general secretary Jeremy Cronin wrote in the party’s newsletter Umsebenzi this week that although the “second transition” would take the country in the right direction to transform, “I don’t think it is the most useful conceptual entry point for approaching these challenges”.

Young Communist League (YCL) general secretary Buti Manamela said he agreed with it “only as a slogan”. But he said a second transition suggested all post-1994 political issues had been resolved.

He said equating the second transition with a second term for Zuma “defeats the object of policy discussions”.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe told a YCL gathering last Sunday people should debate the concept.

“Don’t call it second transition; call it a hot dog, call it a rabbit, call it a pig, but begin to engage with the document,” he said.

During a visit to Gauteng a day before Youth Day, Zuma alternately referred to the second transition as the “second transformation” and the “second economy”.

ANC tree

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