2008 looks set to challenge ANC

2008-01-09 00:00

THE ANC turned 96 yesterday and political analysts say this year will be one of the most challenging in the history of the organisation. The party have to grapple with the reality of its newly elected president being recharged for corruption while making preparations for the 2009 general elections.

The party also has to address the divisions evident within its ranks.

It is some of these issues that newly elected ANC president Jacob Zuma is expected to address when he presents the traditional “January 8” statement at a national rally to be held in Atteridgeville, Tshwane, on Saturday.

The annual statement serves to mark the anniversary of the party, while mapping out activities and issuing directives to party membership for the year ahead.

ANC spokesman, Tiyani Rikhotso, said that about 20 000 people from around Gauteng and neighbouring provinces are expected to attend the rally.

Thami Ngwenya of the Centre for Public Participation believes that compounding the problems of the party are the new charges against Zuma.

He believes Zuma will not dwell on these, but will once again emphasise unity within the party and with the tripartite alliance partners when he delivers the statement.

Ngwenya adds that other challenges facing the party include ensuring that there is “harmonisation and better co-ordination” of the relations between the party as the main centre of power and the state.

“Another challenge that will face the ANC this year is the implementation of some of the resolutions taken at the party’s conference without being seen to be undermining the institutions of democracy.

“One such resolution is the dissolution of the Scorpions. This will be very challenging seeing that Zuma has already been charged, and might be viewed as interference with the judicial system,” Ngwenya said.

Opposition parties have also made pronouncements on what they believe should be contained in the January 8 statement.

DA leader Helen Zille believes the newly elected president should use the opportunity to allay fears that a South Africa under him “will be hostage to populists” within the party.

“Events in Kenya have shown us how quickly a combination of cronyism, populism and ethnic mobilisation can destroy a country’s democratic prospects. The ANC needs to assure South Africans that it will not lead us down the same road.”

She also feels the party needs to distance itself from any action that might be viewed as interference with judicial processes.

“Talk of a ‘political solution’ to the [Zuma corruption] trial has no place in a constitutional democracy in which everyone is equal before the law and nobody is above the law.”

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