Crunch time as ANC makes key decisions
Natasha Marrian, Bongani Mthembu, and Stuart Graham
Durban - The ANC on Thursday revealed policy decisions agreed upon by some 2 000 delegates at its national general council (NGC) in Durban, but decisions on the contentious nationalisation of the mines and media appeals tribunal had yet to be announced.
A victory for President Jacob Zuma came in the form of the NGC "unanimously" adopting his hard-line political report in which he struck a conciliatory note with the ruling party's allies and gave the ANC Youth League a dressing down.
Secretary general Gwede Mantashe's organisational report and treasurer general Mathews Phosa's financial report were also adopted.
ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said the NGC marked a "turning point" for the ANC as delegates had also adopted the ANC's
discussion document on organisational renewal.
The documents oppose the practice of slates, of using money to buy votes and ill-discipline in general.
Slates are lists of candidates elected into posts on the basis of being part of a particular faction.
It was also proposed that rules for lobbying ahead of elective conferences be put in place. The delegates agreed that public spats be dealt with harshly.
This also formed part of the organisational renewal document.
"The leadership of the ANC now has a full mandate to deal with matters decisively and also strengthen alliance relations," said Mthembu.
No word on nationalisation, media
As plenary concluded its work on the different decisions taken, the media was briefed on resolutions taken.
By 19:00 on Thursday, the outcome of discussion on nationalisation of the mines and the media appeals tribunal had not yet been announced.
The ANC has also "parked" its discussion on reconfiguring the nine provinces.
However, delegates agreed that the need to look at their make-up and viability remained.
ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga said the NGC legislature and governance commission had taken its cue from the 2007 Polokwane conference, which had instructed the party to hold a summit conference to deal with the future of the provinces.
In the meantime, government had prepared a report on the matter, but the conference stipulated in the Polokwane resolution had not yet taken place.
"We are saying that the ANC is the strategic centre of power. We are going to hold an ANC summit, including the alliance partners, to come up with proposals to give to the national executive committee.
"It is safe to say that more work needs to be done," Motshekga said.
Concerns about Swaziland
The party has also resolved to delve into the situation in Swaziland which the ANCYL and the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) have called for.
Many of the delegates taking part in the party's national general council "feel strongly" about the repressive situation in that country.
"We need a full discussion on our approach to Swaziland... in order to determine a unified position," said Sue van der Merwe, chairperson of the ANC committee on international relations,
National executive committee member Collins Chabane added: "What we have to make clear is to make a distinction between the state and the ANC... you cannot conflate the two."
He said the ANC, as a party, had never had a "systematic discussion" on the situation in Swaziland.
Swazi King Mswati III has widely been accused of repressing human rights, and harassing and jailing pro-democracy activists.
Delegates at the NGC went into plenary to take concrete decisions on their discussions from the past two days.
The plenary continued on Thursday evening.