ANC factions could abuse policy conference

Cape Town - ANC national executive committee (NEC) member Lindiwe Sisulu has warned that the ANC policy conference could be rendered useless by factions in the ANC, who have prioritised the bidding of their preferred candidates over policies.

“We are so engrossed in name-dropping that we are not keeping our eye on what it is that is important to our people. To our people it is not the names that we are clubbing in corners to talk about, it is how we are changing their lives. We are chasing the wrong thing and I would have preferred that we concentrate on the policy conference and deal with the names later,” Sisulu told City Press.

During the last sitting of the NEC, the ANC opted to open up the succession debate by giving the go-ahead for structures to start discussing names of preferred candidates to make up the officials which will be elected at the national elective conference in December.

The policy conference, which will begin on Friday, will become the battleground for factions, which will align themselves with the policies that will be championed by their preferred candidates.

Sisulu lamented the fact that the conference would serve as a proxy war instead of doing the work of formulating policies that will change the lives of South Africans.

“The tragedy is that indeed even in the policy conference, we are likely to find a scenario where it will be factions meeting rather than committees meeting.”

"Anything is possible"

Speaking on the recently leaked Gupta emails, Sisulu said the ANC has failed to deal with the issue properly because of the “factional situation” existent in the party.

“I would have wished that our security environment could have taken control. We have had situations like this, we have had documents bought to us and we have been able to say this is verifiably true and this verifiably untrue,” she said.

The NEC member also warned that failure to deal with issues like the Gupta emails could lead to the reversal of the gains made by the ANC.

“For as long as the water is muddied like this, anything is possible.

“No revolution is irreversible, it should not ever happen to us. We, more than any other revolution, should be on our toes to make sure we guard the sacrifices that bought us here.”

Sisulu has been a firm supporter of giving space to the veterans of the party to have their say on the current state of the organisation. Veterans have snubbed a proposal of the ANC to dedicate the first two days of the policy conference to discussing the current state of the organisation.

A number of NEC members have also questioned the motives of the veterans. The most recent of these has been Police Minister Fikile Mbalula, who reportedly said: “We can’t be blackmailed by the stalwarts who are filthy and stinking rich, because they benefited from BEE. If they have made up their minds to sell out, they must leave the ANC
out of it.”

Sisulu hit back, saying those who have cast aspersions on the veterans are wrong to do so.

“Let the person who picks up the stone and throws it be quite certain that they have contributed to this country more than our veterans and none of them would. None of them would.

“And for any of our members of the NEC who might feel that the veterans have got an ulterior motive, to say let us give it a chance. It is important. We had a discussion with the Boers that had killed us, why would we not give space to our own?”

Sisulu’s supporters have hit the ground running, calling for her to be considered to succeed Jacob Zuma in December, while others have her tipped for the position of deputy president.

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