ANC veterans reject joint policy, consultative conference

2016-12-14 10:10
ANC stalwarts during a media briefing on the proposed consultative conference (Tshidi Madia, News24)

ANC stalwarts during a media briefing on the proposed consultative conference (Tshidi Madia, News24)

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Johannesburg – A group of over 100 ANC veterans have rejected the party's decision to make its consultative conference part of its policy conference next year.

There needed to be distance between the two, so the consultative conference could exhaust all issues which had to be addressed, writer and poet Wally Serote told reporters in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

They would take this proposal to their next meeting with current ANC leaders.

“The consultative conference needs to do in-depth discussions about how we correct all the things that contributed to the crisis that the ANC finds itself in,” he said.

The group agreed on the need to include other sectors, like civil society, in the conference, in the hopes of finding a comprehensive solution to problems facing the 104-year-old liberation movement.

The veterans had already held three meetings with the ANC. The first two took place ahead of the ANC’s last national executive committee meeting for 2016, held at the end of November.

The NEC agreed to the veterans’ request to hold a consultative conference. However, the ANC said it would dedicate two days of its policy conference in June 2017 to discussing the state of the organisation and ways to fix it.

“We are talking about the renewal of the ANC as a whole. This goes beyond individuals. We are not doing this solely for ourselves,” political activist and businesswoman Barbara Masekela said.

It was the party’s mandate to govern South Africa and drive social change, said former minister of safety and security Sydney Mufamadi. Whatever happened with the ANC was of interest to society in general, he said.

The stalwarts said there would be a preparatory committee which would meet ANC leaders to discuss the two conferences.

ANC veteran Gertrude Shope said the situation reminded her of those who left the country to fight for freedom, but couldn’t make it back to South Africa.

“The only thank you we can give to them is to build our organisation and nation to a level where everyone can feel and accept that South Africa is a democratic country,” the former ANC Women’s League president said.

The veterans said they would attend a conference hosted by former commissars and commanders of Umkhonto we Sizwe, an event ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe had previously said was outside party structures.

The MK council meeting is spearheaded by former MK general and South African National Defence force chief Siphiwe Nyanda and former MK members Bheki Cele, Thenjiwe Mtintso and Thabang Makwetla.

Read more on:    anc  |  bheki cele  |  gwede mantashe
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