ANC threatens to cancel consultative conference

2017-06-07 13:01
Gwede Mantashe (Deaan Vivier, Netwerk24)

Gwede Mantashe (Deaan Vivier, Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - The ANC will cancel a two-day special consultative conference unless its stalwarts and veterans agree that it forms part of its policy conference later this month, secretary general Gwede Mantashe has said.

"If they do not accept the two days we will cancel the two days and continue with the policy conference," he told News24 on Tuesday.

The party’s veterans are wanting the ANC to hold separate policy and consultative conferences. The latter is intended for the party to discuss how to stem its loss of support.

During a meeting the ANC held with former party leaders on Saturday, they renewed their demand, Mantashe said.

MK decision

A group of ANC Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) veterans said on Tuesday they would not take part in the policy conference. Merging it with the consultative conference would be a waste of time and any decisions it took would carry no weight, they said.

The MK veterans' national council steering committee took the decision. The council was formed in 2016 by former MK generals and commissars concerned with the political direction of the MK Military Veterans' Association (MKMVA), led by Kebby Maphatsoe. It is not an officially recognised ANC structure.

Mantashe said the MK council was invited to the meeting to discuss the conference, but nobody showed up.

"They go to a press briefing and announce something they did not discuss with us," Mantashe said in a disapproving tone.

Party leaders would meet senior ANC members on Saturday, he said.

"If they come back with the same answer, we will have to cancel the consultative conference, continue with policy conference and see what comes out of that."

Alliance partners

Mantashe expressed concerns about the state of the alliance going into the policy conference, to take place from June 30 to July 5.

The party postponed a planned alliance council on Sunday. The ANC wanted to meet Cosatu and the SACP to discuss their calls for President Jacob Zuma to step down.

Mantashe said the meeting was intended to ensure the ANC did not get caught off guard by statements its partners made.

"We want to know if they come, will they be able to sit with the president of the ANC?"

Cosatu has banned Zuma from speaking at any of its events. Its members booed him when he spoke at their May Day rally in Bloemfontein.

Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini said recently that the ANC would not survive without Cosatu. Mantashe said if the ruling party was petty, it would simply dissolve the alliance.

“If we are petty, we could say Cosatu doesn’t want our president, so we don’t want them either. We collapse the alliance. Our orientation should be on finding solutions rather than being petty.”

The alliance had helped Cosatu achieve many benefits for workers, including the minimum wage, he said.

“There is nobody who needs anybody more than the others. We need each other.”

Mantashe said Cosatu was wrong in thinking that life was about the ANC’s elective conference in December. It was about improving the quality of people’s lives, he said.

Read more on:    cosatu  |  mk  |  anc  |  gwede mantashe  |  ancpolicy17  |  anc leadership race  |  politics

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