‘ANC will continue to provide strong economic leadership in SA’

2012-12-17 00:00

ANC president Jacob Zuma yesterday sought to dispel criticism of his leadership, and offered a detailed exposition on what he thought the party needed to do to grow the South African economy.

He told delegates at the party’s national conference that the African National Congress had not failed to lead South Africa.

In his political report, he sought to dispel criticism of the ANC’s ability to lead the country and grow the economy. Blaming the slowdown of the economy on the global recession, he said that recent downgrades by credit rating agencies were misguided.

“We want to dismiss the perceptions that our country is falling apart because of the downgrades. We continue to do our development work, we continue to plan for a recovery.

“Today, the ratings agencies and investors are asking whether the ANC can continue to manage this economy so that we can grow, create jobs, manage our debt and provide policy certainty. Yes, the ANC will continue to provide strong economic leadership and steer our economy boldly, and we do have a plan to grow the economy and create jobs.”

Zuma said South Africa was one of the most transparent countries in the world when it came to fighting against corruption.

The president condemned what he called “alien tendencies” that had crept into the party, like smear campaigns and negative lobbying for positions in the party.

In a veiled reference to former ANC Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema and his suspended allies, he said that disrespectful public spats and insults hurled at other comrades or members of the public were becoming common.

Zuma said: “More seriously, we have experienced the shocking occurrences where armed comrades disrupt ANC meetings. This then raises the question of what exactly could be so much at stake that people would go so far as to get their own way in the organisation.

“We condemn the use of violence and strongly condemn the killings of ANC leaders, including the ANC Dr Kenneth Kaunda regional secretary in North West, Comrade Obuti Chika. We condemn the killing of other comrades in other provinces as well, earlier in the year.”

Unlike previous meetings, Zuma did not sing his trademark Mshini Wami song, opting instead for a neutral song that praised President Nelson Mandela and reminded delegates that the national democratic revolution was not over yet.

In a sign of the waning influence of the Malema-era ANCYL, the nationalisation debate got no mention in the president’s speech.

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