No apologies for not inviting ANC

2010-11-03 18:11

Johannesburg - 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 on Wednesday.

"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 co-hosted a civil society conference with the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) last week, a move that angered the ANC.

Former president Thabo Mbeki did not enjoy a cordial relationship with the TAC, or the ANC's alliance partner, Cosatu, and his leadership-style was often criticised. This led to his ousting by current ANC president Jacob Zuma.

The ANC's National Working Committee (NWC) on Tuesday accused Cosatu and civil society of taking an oppositionist stance towards the ANC-led government.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe raised caution against attempting to affect regime change. Mantashe said the ANC-government should have been invited to attend as it was criticised "in absentia" and not given the space to defend itself.

"The ANC shouldn't close down the voices of criticism... the ANC ought to be able to withstand internal criticism," Heywood said.

"If it wants to go back to the Mbeki-ANC, then it will close down those voices."

The ruling party's reaction, coupled with its Media Appeals Tribunal proposal and the contentious protection of information bill suggested that there were "some people hell bent on closing down those voices".

Heywood said Cosatu had committed to an ongoing campaign with civil society and believed that the federation would hold to that.

He described Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi's response to the ANC's criticism as "brave". Vavi described the ANC's response as "paranoid".

Heywood cautioned, however, that civil society would not be drawn into any political games.

"Civil society is not interested in being a pawn in anybody's game including Cosatu's, if there is a game," he said.

Allegations of corruption

TAC chairperson Nonkosi Khumalo said civil society would not apologise for going ahead with the conference and for failing to invite the ANC or any other political party.

"We don't need a stamp of approval from them (the ANC)," she said.

"I don't think we have to be apologetic in any way."

She said it was not a meeting of political parties and that civil society had meetings with government and knew its policies.

The issue of service delivery was a problem "for a long time", she said, adding that the conference was a platform to find ways to deal with service delivery problems in "different ways".

Heywood added that the reaction from the NWC 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 the NWC should have welcomed the conference and said in hindsight it still would not have invited political parties.

The purpose of the conference was to forge unity between civil society and "find common causes and common strategies" in the various campaigns for social justice.

The conference would not be the last.

Read more on:    tac  |  cosatu  |  anc  |  thabo mbeki  |  zwelinzima vavi  |  tony yengeni  |  julius malema  |  siphiwe nyanda

Read News24’s Comments Policy


Inside News24

/Oscar Pistorius

6 impressive camping tips

Check out these great tips that will make your camping experience so much better!


Where were you when you last felt alive?

Free outdoor yoga classes
Watch: 5 skills to improve your BMX riding
Action camera for all occasions
Tips on how to set your fitness goals

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


There is a strong social and romantic overtone that plays its way into your day. It may get stronger later in the day when more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.