Guest Column

Mcebo Dlamini: ANC should be commended for its policy decisions

2017-12-29 11:24
Newly elected ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa ((MUJAHID SAFODIEN / AFP)

Newly elected ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa ((MUJAHID SAFODIEN / AFP)

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Mcebo Freedom Dlamini

It is no secret that the 54th national elective conference of the ANC took place when the movement was deeply divided and gradually losing the confidence of members of society.

The conference took place just after the party suffered a loss in some of the most important metros in South Africa.

There are different opinions as to why the party was divided and losing the confidence of the people; some attributed it to the leadership and others to the party’s refusal to take radical positions regarding the direction that the country ought to take.

What was nonetheless obvious was the fact that the party of Oliver Reginald Tambo needed to do something to regain the trust of the people and ensure that the revolution bears the fruits that it promised.

The fractures within the ANC saw the birth of breakaway parties such as Cope, the EFF, and most recently, the formation of Change. All these parties were formed by erstwhile members of the ANC and they all left with a considerable constituency of the ANC.

These are not the only recent blows that the ANC suffered. In the past two years we’ve seen an increase in protests by civil society where South Africa was dubbed as the protest capital of the whole world.

We also saw what seemed to be a student uprising where the students were demanding free and decolonised education and the ANC seemed reluctant to listen to the demands of the students. I give this background of recent developments and challenges faced by the ANC to highlight that the 54th conference would be an important one in determining the future of the ANC.

Many had already prophesied that the ANC would come out of the conference even more divided. This was because of violence that ensued in some of the provincial and local gatherings of the ANC.

This did not happen. In fact it seems that the opposite happened. The ANC left the conference singing in unison and was able to take very bold and radical resolutions. It is some of these resolutions that I want to briefly discuss.

To everyone’s shock the ANC resolved on the implementation of free higher education for the poor starting from the 2018 academic year. This pronouncement follows almost three years of protests by students demanding that the ANC live up to the promise of the Freedom Charter that states that the doors of education shall be open to all.

The brave decision by the delegates, confirming the prior decision of President Jacob Zuma, shows that indeed the ANC is still the parliament of the people.

What is commendable about this resolution is not only the substance but also the urgency in which this substance must be treated. One need not rehash the importance of the speedy implementation of this resolution on the economy of South Africa.

What could prove to be the most important resolution the ANC has taken after 1994 is the expropriation of land without compensation.

The land question has been at the epicentre of the liberation struggles of South Africa. The courts have been engaged in a tug of war over this question, particularly on expropriation without compensation. Should this resolution be implemented it would mean a complete paradigm shift of the socio-economic conditions as we know them.

If this resolution is implemented correctly, learning from the mistakes of other countries, South Africa will be able to close the gap between the rich and the poor.

It is this gap that has been the main source of tension in this country. In the words of Frantz Fanon, the return of the land will not only give the people bread, but it will also give them their dignity.

Corruption has been used to militate against the ANC by opposition parties. It is commendable that the conference resolved that there is an urgent need to isolate and root out corruption. Successfully doing this will render opposition parties redundant.

It is no lie that there were elements of corruption within the movement and the fact that the ANC was able to look inward and admit that there is a problem is the first step to dealing with corruption.

I want to also add that the issue of corruption is one that must be looked at through the lens of history. White people in South Africa have been corrupt for a very long time and are still corrupt. When the ANC uproots corruption it must uproot it from both the public sector and private sector.

Where corruption happens in the private sector it is guised with all these fancy names like collusion or price fixing instead of calling it what it is. This bias must not be tolerated by the ANC.

In conclusion, I would like to commend the ANC on being decisive and disciplined at a time when these virtues were most needed.

The ANC must ensure that the resolutions are implemented speedily. Policy that looks good only on paper does not translate into the material change of the conditions of the people.

To regain the trust of the people and demonstrate our genuineness to the complete liberation of African people it is necessary that practical steps are taken to see through the realisation of the 54th national conference resolutions.

- Dlamini is a former Wits SRC President and student activist. He writes in his personal capacity.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

Read more on:    anc  |  anc elective conference  |  anc votes
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