Second transition discussion: ‘It was so bad’

2012-06-28 14:10

The glaring divisions in the ANC came into clear view during the commissions about the much-maligned second transition document.

Delegates gave City Press harrowing accounts of what took place in last night’s commissions, which carried on until late.

The Second Transition document suggests radical economic transformation and has become the key talking point of the policy conference taking place in Midrand.

One delegate, who is also a member of president Jacob Zuma’s executive, recounted how delegates were split in two camps – those who supported the document and therefore Zuma’s second term, and others who wanted a change in leadership and therefore criticised the document.

“It was so bad. It was clear that if you get up to talk, you are going one way or the other way. Even if you supported some parts of the document, you couldn’t say it, because then you’d be lumped with the other side.”

Motlanthe and Zuma took part in the debates and were clearly divided on what the second transition means.

“They went from commission to commission, the DP (deputy president) was asking questions about the second transition and number one was just there to re-enforce his stance that the second transition was a good thing.”

The tension was so palpable and comrades became so angry that the pro-Zuma delegates threatened to walk out.

“It is the kind of thing that makes the conference collapse,” the delegate said, adding that the pro-Motlanthe group argued that the state must be blamed for the lack of proper economic transformation.

“We have a capable state, so why haven’t we achieved these goals. We must look at corruption, inefficiency and cadre deployment when we say we haven’t reached our goals, there is no need to change the Strategy and Tactics document.”

An Eastern Cape delegate sat in on commission 9 and said the issue was over-personalised by delegates from KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and some parts of the Free State.

“This killed the policy debate and the depth of theorising.”

Eventually they agreed to take the issue back to the plenary session of the conference that started at 2pm today, for what is set to be an intense debate.

Some delegates were singing pro-Zuma songs going into the plenary, competing with Motlanthe supporters singing songs advocating change.

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