ANC rocked by land row

2017-12-21 11:09

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A bitter row and scuffles broke out last night over a decision by an ANC policy commission to approve of land expropriation without compensation, but with some provisions.

The ANC’s landmark 54th national conference stumbled toward closure early Thursday morning with deep divisions emerging over the land issue and the composition of the party’s top six leadership.

Dramatic video footage was posted on social media last night of delegates in the commission on economic transformation scuffling over the land issue. The committee reportedly agreed to expropriation without compensation, but only when it was sustainable.

New ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa’s closing speech, scheduled for 3 pm on Wednesday, was delayed for several hours. At the time of going to print he was yet to begin and party sources said his address would only start in the early hours of today.

Less than 24 hours after Monday’s election of Ramaphosa as party leader significant differences on key issues emerged.

Ramaphosa and other ANC leaders have publicly hailed the election of controversial figures such as Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza and Free State counterpart Ace Magashule to the key positions of deputy president and secretary-general as a sign of unity.

However, ANC delegates have indicated that they are uncomfortable with the arrangement.

Tensions over the election of Magashule, Mabuza and former national official Jessie Duarte — all known Jacob Zuma backers — to the ruling party’s national top six leadership structure saw the conference programme falling behind schedule. These differences saw some of the delegates seeking legal advice on the outcome of the elections and ANC leaders imposing an information blackout.

A source within the ANC steering committee overseeing the running of the conference said it had spent the last 24 hours dealing with disputes around voting processes.

“The problem started when people who did not have proper accreditation were allowed inside the conference as non-voting delegates.

“These were people who the courts had either ruled should not be part of the conference or individuals whose branches did not hold proper meetings. Once they were inside, the electoral commission allowed them to vote and when this was challenged, the commission removed their votes — that’s where problems started,” he said.

Political analysts have attributed the chaos to the “shock” elections outcome that saw figures such as Mabuza and Magashule elected to influential positions.

“Those two individuals represent the very opposite of where the ANC needs to go,” said University of Johannesburg political analyst Mcebisi Mdletyana.

He added that delegates supporting Ramaphosa had expected a top six national leadership to emerge that would support Ramaphosa’s vision aimed at reforming the party. “When this did not happen there was panic and hence the pending court challenges. Ramaphosa supporters see Mabuza and Magashule as the opposite of where the party should be heading,” he said.

The ANC Women’s League (ANCWL), which supported Ramaphosa’s rival Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, accused Magashule and Mabuza of manipulating branch nomination processes to ensure an outcome that would favour them.

“They pretended as if they were with comrade Nkosazana but when voting came their supporters only voted for them. They used Nkosazana as a ladder,” ANCWL president Bathabile Dlamini said.

Another bitter dispute arose around a decision by the ANC’s commission on economic transformation to endorse the amendment of the Constitution to include land expropriation without compensation.

Political analyst Mpumelelo Mkhabela said the fact that delegates had endorsed radical resolutions could be proof that many of those who put Ramaphosa into power do not share his vision. “This is too radical a decision. It also says something about challenges Ramaphosa is going to face. We know that the markets smiled a little after the announcement. With this announcement I’m sure the rand is going to tank,” he said.

By late last night the ANC had not yet announced the names of the party’s new National Executive Committee (NEC) members. 

- Additional reporting by News24

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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