All eyes on NGC

2010-09-18 00:00

THE battle for the soul of the ANC is once more under the spotlight with all eyes on the ruling Party’s National General Council (NGC) in Durban next week.

As much as the ANC has insisted that the focus of the gathering is on policies, the posturing among Alliance partners in the build-up to the event has brought the leadership battle to the fore.

President Jacob Zuma’s leadership has come under fire from various quarters within the Party.

How he balances these forces will be a test of his leadership. An indication will be the substance of his political report.

Former president Thabo Mbeki failed dismally on this score at Polokwane. He presented a dry as toast report card, which further lost him support.

The ANC Youth League has been most vocal in their supportof former president Fikile Mbalula, who is the Deputy Police Minister for the post of secretary-general, currently occupied by SACP member Gwede Mantashe.

The League has been depicted by most analysts as serving a faction that puts personalities before issues. Their actions will be keenly observed during Mantashe’s organisational report.

Cosatu is clearly pushing a leftist agenda and placed its cards on the table with the launch of its economic policy this week. The policy proposes a super tax for the rich and strategic targeted nationalisation of certain key industries. The trade union federation has also positioned itself as pro-poor and spoke out against tenderpreneurs and what it has described as the growth of a predatory elite within the ruling party.

The Mail & Guardian has reported that Cosatu’s General-secretary Zwelizinzima Vavi belonged to a group of leaders calling themselves the “new frontier.” This is a sub-group of a broad front that questions Zuma’s leadership and are concerned about the erosion of traditional ANC values. Other members of this group were said to be Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale and Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu

It is not clear where SACP leader Blade Nzimande stands. He has also given vent to a fair share of rhetoric and even though the SACP is on the left it has not always spoken out in unison with Cosatu.

The policy proposals that emerge at the end of the council will also provide a barometer on the future direction of the ruling party.

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