ANC cannot afford to be fractured by disunity - Zuma

2017-07-05 21:09
President Jacob Zuma during his closing address at the ANC’s policy conference in Johannesburg.  (Themba Hadebe, AP)

President Jacob Zuma during his closing address at the ANC’s policy conference in Johannesburg. (Themba Hadebe, AP)

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WATCH: President Zuma closes ANC policy conference

2017-07-05 14:56

President Jacob Zuma delivers the closing address at the ANC's national policy conference at Nasrec, south of Johannesburg. Watch. WATCH

Johannesburg - The ANC cannot afford to allow factionalism to tear it apart.

This was the parting message that President Jacob Zuma wanted the more than 3 000 delegates gathered at the policy conference in Nasrec, south of Johannesburg, to take away with them.

Zuma was speaking during his closing address, where the delegates had gathered for a six-day conference to discuss policy proposals that the party needed to take to the National Elective Conference in December.

Zuma reiterated the need for the party to remain united and to try and find the best remedy to address the cause of divisions within the party, which was mainly factionalism.

“We emerged out of this much wiser and better in our understanding of both our strengths and weaknesses as well as our challenges and how to overcome them,” Zuma said.

“We emerge more united in purpose than when we came here. We are much clearer and remain committed to the fact that that which unites us is more important than that which divides us. There are no losers among these delegates; the only winner is the ANC.”

Comrades, not enemies

He described the need for unity in the party as being “sacrosanct” and urged delegates to ensure that they left the ANC as united as when they had inherited it.

“This conference strengthened the culture of robust debate, anchored on the fact that we can disagree without being disagreeable. After all we are not enemies, we are comrades,” Zuma said.

Watch the closing address here: WATCH: President Zuma closes ANC policy conference

As a liberation movement and a governing party, the ANC carried a heavy responsibility of ensuring that it was united and stable, it needed this stability in order to lead society, he said.

“I’m sure that they will say the ANC is arrogant [however] of all political parties put together, we have a heavier responsibility, we are governing the country.

“We therefore have to act responsibly with dignity, with discipline. We have to take South Africa to prosperity and we have the capacity and foresight to do so.”

Loser for deputy president 

In a bid to squash any further factions brewing within the party, Zuma came out in support of the KwaZulu-Natal branch’s proposal that the loser of the elective conference in December take the deputy president role.

"This is a remedy to kill factions in the ANC. These are proposals to take to the branches. Even if we don't apply it in the conference in December, we apply it in the conference thereafter. I have no problem."

He even offered to go from province to province to try to convince branches on the matter.

He said there was a need for the party’s Constitution to be amended to include this proposal. 

Zuma also touched on how important it had been to have dedicated nearly a week to addressing all the issues that delegates had tabled. He said the level of debates and discussions had been of a “high level” and that they had borne fruit.

He said the contradictions and disagreements were evidence of the party’s vibrancy.

Also read: Two deputy presidents the remedy for factionalism - Zuma

Monopoly capital

One topic which had sparked heated debates throughout the week was whether monopoly capital should be racially defined. It is one of the major factors separating members along factional lines ahead of the presidential race between current deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Ramaphosa’s supporters are arguing that monopoly capital should not be defined by any particular colour, even though in the South African context, it is dominated by the white minority.

However, Zuma's allies want it to be racially defined.

On this, Zuma said a correct characterisation of the phenomena was important and that in the South African economy’s context, monopoly capital was predominantly white.

“In this regard it is technically correct,” he said.

He said it was critical, however, that there be a shared common view about what measures needed to be taken to realise the ultimate objectives of eradicating it.

“We must not allow ourselves to be divided simply on the basis of conceptual evasion and grand fear,” Zuma said.

Instead, the focus needed to be on countering monopoly capital through legislation, regulations, licensing conditions, public procurement mechanisms and financial support, among other things.

Also read: Ramaphosa vs Zuma: Battle over white monopoly capital far from over


On the issue of land and redistribution and land reform, Zuma said delegates had agreed that this area needed to accelerate and that expropriation without compensation was an option they would explore.

“We agreed that using the focus for land redistribution must be accompanied by other measures if we are to achieve the goal at the required pace where it is necessary and unavoidable.

“This may include expropriating without compensation, within the law, within the Constitution. The Constitution provides for legislative changes to be effected in a democratic process,” Zuma said.

On the party’s relationship with its alliances, Zuma said delegates had expressed their concern with the state of the alliance.

“We must do everything in our power to guard against the unity of our alliance. As we leave this conference, all of us must double our efforts in relation with our allies from the ground upwards,” he said.

“We also call on our alliance partners to engage us constructively on the right platforms,” he added.

Also read: More drama at ANC policy conference over land

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