ANC defers divisive land debate to a special NEC

2017-03-25 09:38
Cyril Ramaphosa (File: AFP)

Cyril Ramaphosa (File: AFP)

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Johannesburg - The ANC will hold a special national executive committee (NEC) meeting to discuss the divisive land issue, also expected to be used as a rallying call ahead of its December elective conference. 

Two sources confirmed to News24 that on Friday night, the party decided to defer the land debate to a special NEC meeting instead of discussing it this weekend. The party's highest decision making body between conferences is meeting in Irene until Sunday.

The meeting adopted a proposal by its national working committee (NWC) for a special meeting, following deep divisions that have also played out in the public arena. The NWC had met on Monday. 

According to the Mail & Guardian, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa had made a suggestion during Monday's meeting that there be a special NEC, due to differences on the matter.

During Friday's meeting, President Jacob Zuma had pushed through his radical stance for expropriation of land without compensation in his political address to the meeting, arguing that it was a long standing party resolution. Sources confirmed this News24.

His address was also seen as "hitting back" at his detractors, they said.

"The president was very hard, especially to those who thought he was being a populist by calling for legislation to be changed to allow for expropriation without compensation. 

"He told us that expropriation without compensation was a party resolution that has not been implemented and that when he calls for it, he cant be labelled a populist," one source said.


Several ANC leaders including Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandoor, Treasurer General Zweli Mkhize and Secretary General Gwede Mantashe have publicly contradicted Zuma on the need to change the Constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation. 

Zuma recently also contradicted party Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu when he said that the ANC in Parliament should have voted in favour of an EFF motion to amend section 25 of the Constitution, to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation.

The EFF offered the governing party its 6% vote, which would have granted the ANC a two thirds majority for the motion to amend the Constitution. However, the party caucus rejected it, supported by the DA.

The special NEC on land is expected to be held before the party's policy conference in June. The divisions on land are expected to play out at that conference, when Zuma's supporters are expected to push for the more radical stance. 

They are unhappy with the party's policy document which was released for discussion. Some argue that its stance on land is watered down from the 2012 Mangaung congress which, in principle, supported expropriation without compensation within section 25 of the Constitution.

Read more on:    anc  |  jacob zuma  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  gwede mantashe  |  pretoria  |  politics 2017  |  land

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