Ghost of Malema set to loom at ANC’s policy conference

2012-06-25 13:34

He will not be allowed to attend the ANC’s policy conference this week, but expelled youth leader Julius Malema will be haunting many of the discussion groups deciding what the ANC – and ultimately government – must do for South Africa in the next five years.

Malema is likely to keep an eagle eye on the four-day conference, starting tomorrow at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, to see what delegates make of nationalisation, his pet project.

Perhaps what is the most entertaining of all is that Malema has the ANC in a bind about the “second transition”.

The term was coined by the ANC’s political education committee, led by Tony Yengeni, to reflect Malema’s rallying cry of “economic freedom in our lifetime”.

Nobody in the ANC disagrees with that.

The irony is that Zuma and many of his supporters have now taken the second transition as their rallying cry, while the youth league and those opposed to Zuma have rejected it.

Whether the ANC eventually accepts or rejects the term, Malema will have won.

Another issue he has been pushing, and that he has scored big with politically so far, is a wholesale takeover of mine ownership by the state.

He was pushing for this as early as 2009, a year after he was first elected ANC Youth League leader.

So powerful was his voice that government ministers and even President Jacob Zuma had to go out of their way to deny that it was ANC or government policy.

This conference will decide whether it will be, and a final vote on this will be taken at the party’s elective congress in Mangaung in December.

The ANC also had to appoint researchers to look at the concept, and they found that the state couldn’t afford to take over the mines.

All the provinces support some form of nationalisation, with Malema’s home province, Limpopo, being the biggest supporter of the concept and Zuma’s stronghold KwaZulu-Natal rejecting it.

The ANC is also set to look at land reform, an issue Malema had been pushing by calling for the expropriation of white-owned land without compensation.

Although not all in the ANC and government favour this concept, almost all in the party have by now accepted that the willing-seller-willing-buyer principle should go if land reform is to be speeded up.

The ANC’s policy conference will also look at organisational issues, such as how disciplinary hearings are conducted and how independent the party’s leagues should be.

This follows the nine-month-long disciplinary proceeding after which Malema was eventually expelled.

In its organisational renewal discussion document, the ANC suggests that the use of lawyers during disciplinary hearings be looked at, after Malema’s senior counsel used various legal techniques to draw out his hearing.

The document also looks at how the youth league should relate to the ANC, after Malema argued that ANC decisions were not binding on him.

The ANC argued that they were.

Malema might be out in the cold for a while longer, but the fact that he is sure to figure big in the policy discussions this week will surely warm his heart, if only a little.

ANC tree
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