Road to Mangaung: ANC policy debate set to kick off

2012-06-25 22:27

Johannesburg - The ANC's four-day policy conference is set to start at Gallagher Estate in Midrand, Johannesburg, on Tuesday, in what party secretary general Gwede Mantashe says is a "preparatory conference" for the ANC's national elective conference to be held in Mangaung in December.

The 3 500 delegates attending, consisting of branch delegates, national executive committee members, the ANC leagues, its alliance partners, deployees and business representatives, are expected to fiercely debate how the country can create jobs, attract foreign investment and stave off social unrest in a global recession.

Over the next four days, populists and fiscal conservatives will be wrestling over the ANC's soul at the conference.

But the ANC is confident the will produce outstanding outcomes, secretary general Mantashe said.

"There have been very robust debates within our branches, regions, provinces [and] alliance structures, and [among] the public, on the policy he told reporters in Johannesburg.

"We are very confident that the policy conference... will bring together all those discussions and produce outstanding policy outcomes."

Tuesday's session would start with an address by President Jacob Zuma, who is also president of the ANC.

Though the conference would not focus on the succession debate, observers will be watching Zuma closely this week to see whether he can maintain discipline among the gathered delegates.

They'll also be assessing his efforts to push his vision, which some say is fuzzy on details such as how he will pay for planned infrastructure development and the national health programme, the national health insurance, while labour says he's not moving far or fast enough to the left.


Thami Mazwai, who oversees a university programme designed to give some of South Africa's poorest citizens the skills to run their own businesses, said he worries that ANC policymakers aren't getting beyond academic debates.

"Right now, we're not having a lot of acting. We really don't understand that we are in crisis mode," said Mazwai, director of the University of Johannesburg's Soweto-based Centre for Small Business Development.

The ANC will this week, for example, debate whether the government should offer private companies subsidies to encourage them to hire and train young workers.

A section of the ANC that includes the finance minister is pushing for the youth wage subsidy, but unions say it will encourage employers to replace existing workers with younger employees.

Mazwai says that it will get young people into the workforce, and that the ANC should stand up to labour.

South Africa's unemployment rate has been stuck at 25% for years. This country of 50 million has not seen the political turmoil or wide-scale strikes and protests that have occasionally erupted into violence in Europe as economies there melt down.

But scattered protests over the government's failure to deliver enough after 18 years in power have broken out in some of South Africa's poorest communities.

Mazwai said the risk of broader upheaval can't be ignored, particularly because so many of South Africa's unemployed are young and impatient.

"That is the ticking time bomb that a lot of us are worried about," Mazwai said.


ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said that among the tough questions to be confronted this week is why, a generation after apartheid's end brought democracy to the black majority, ANC members don't face consequences when they fail in government posts.

Going after ANC members seen as under-performing, whether in the Cabinet or the civil service, could raise already high tensions within the party.

Among the dozen policy documents ANC leaders have circulated to prepare members for the conference is one warning against letting "factional battles over power and resources define the political life of the movement".

Top ANC policy makers can show decisiveness. Despite calls by unions and the ANC Youth League to nationalise mines, seen as a key area in which jobs can be created, the documents that make up the conference agenda portray nationalisation as politically and financially impractical.

They instead propose using taxes and other means to ensure the nation gets the most from its mineral wealth.

Last week at a Group of 20 meeting in Mexico, Zuma pledged to contribute $2bn to a fund the IMF can use to help ailing economies.

Some within the ANC who are sceptical of globalisation said the money would have been better spent at home, illustrating the kind of bickering among moderate and more radical ANC members that can worry foreign investors.

Zuma, head of the only African country in the group of the world's 20 top economies, stood firm, saying he was acting to head off deepening a global crisis that could see more jobs lost in South Africa.

Leading businessman Brett Dawson wants policymakers to concentrate on competitiveness, in part by improving education and infrastructure.

Dawson's Dimension Data, which provides IT technology and support to major South African financial services, mining and other companies, employs thousands.

It could employ more if the nation's communications infrastructure and costs allowed entrepreneurs to compete with Indian and other companies for international contracts.

"It is about nations making sure that they can compete. It's the only way we can create jobs," Dawson said.

Dawson is hopeful. South Africans, he said, showed they were capable of innovative thinking and decisiveness when they defeated apartheid.

"The challenge we're facing here is a lot smaller than that kind of challenge," Dawson said.

  • jack.oosthuysen - 2012-06-25 23:27

    Let us break this 4 days down accordingly. They will start at 10,o clock. 11 oclock it will be tea time for 3500 people until 12.15. 1 o clock lunch for 7000 people. Afternoon session to commemce 15hoo. Siesta till 16h30. 17Hoo the caterers will start serving drinks. Seriously I can not see then 3500 delegates can be contributing to any positive outcome on any issues here.

      samlet.letsam - 2012-06-26 00:33

      Let us rather hope they break in 4 different parties/factions before the next elections with NO alliance. We could then take the "best" of the 4 with a DA (maybe other) coalition and possibly rule or at least near rule + 4-5 provinces.

      Irene - 2012-06-26 01:52

      I bet KFC will make a killing.

      Koos - 2012-06-26 02:38

      The scary part is that these 3500 idiots are plotting the future of 51 000 000 people. This is hellishly scary.

      Koos - 2012-06-26 05:36

      Reminds me of the pied Piper.

      Benn - 2012-06-26 06:54

      The very first thing they should "debate",is the concept "policy". At least two days will be required for that.

      Henk - 2012-06-26 07:01

      Lesetjam, you are the problem. Not the ANC? You are the reason that this place is slowly starting to another failed state.

      Raymond - 2012-06-26 07:05

      lesetjam, why would that make sense? Why would you vote for a party who is obviously not delivering? You are not angry with them for no reason.

      Richard - 2012-06-26 07:54

      You are right, Koos. Whatever you think of the 3500 odd ANC delegates, the outcome and decisions taken will affect you, me and South Africa's 50,000,000. What's likely to be on the policy conference agenda is economic transformation, nationalisation of mines, land reform, discipline among party members, how to pay for the infrastructure development programme (read e-toll debate), the information bill, etc. If leading business people are interested, so should you be. You might as well pay attention rather than worrying about how much kfc will make or when the tea breaks will be.

      Wesley - 2012-06-26 08:04

      It was planned to start at 10, but it will definitely not, They will still be busy with "accreditation" tomorrow, and in the meantime KFC smiles

      Gerald - 2012-06-26 08:40

      dear lesetjam, voting is different to betting on a soccer match, the point is not to put your money on who you think will win but to actually select the people that you want to lead South Africa. Bottom line here is that you have given the ANC the money that you thought was for your kids education, your pension and medical care and they are going to buy whisky and fried chicken with it. BUT dont worry because I haver planned for the future sensibly and your children can come and clean my kids home one day.

  • Ken Jay May - 2012-06-25 23:46

    This is the first time I actually looked at the ANC flag (logo) and noticed there is a wagonwheel running over a hand holding a spear! this maybe a sign that the trekkers will eventually conquer the ANC?

      samlet.letsam - 2012-06-26 00:35

      Ken jay may - dalk

      thomas.mbedzi - 2012-06-26 05:43

      Actually ANC always comes with the best policy.The question is who is going to implement it,we are losing cdres of the times of oliver Tambo.During ds time position was not important if you loose on your campaign,you remain loyal to the movement this has changed now.please all delegates who will participate on policy debate dnt go there with ideas for fighting for certain indivivual look at contemporal issues of economic development in your country.

      Koos - 2012-06-26 05:54

      Thomas: they are eating cake om your behalf. Do you really trust them to come up with something that will be good for SOUTH AFRICA and ALL her people?

      merven.halo - 2012-06-26 07:45

      No man Ken, it is a lemon slice for the Jack Daniels.

      art5SA - 2012-06-26 08:13

      Road to Mangaung is covered in POT HOLES!!!!! .......and the ODD TOLL GATE!!!!

  • thozi - 2012-06-26 00:20

    Please covey my regrets. I will not be attending in protest against the expulsion of my dearest leader, Comrade Juju.

      Chumscrubber1 - 2012-06-26 06:23

      I'm also sad he is out, he was doing such a good job of destroying this heinous organisation.

      Raymond - 2012-06-26 07:07

      thozi, nobody actually gives a toss that you won't attend, nor do we give a toss about your fat, purple, thieving dearest leader.

      merven.halo - 2012-06-26 07:46

      Dammit, thozi and Dubula also missed the bus!

      chris.gill.9849 - 2012-06-26 08:06

      @ratska... I thought that was pretty funny.

      art5SA - 2012-06-26 08:12

      Malema WILL be attending... as a CAR GUARD!

      thabo.tman.33 - 2012-06-26 10:07

      Those who STILL count Malema as down and out do that at their own peril. Let us all wait and see what happens in Mangaung. Thabo Mbeki also went into Polokwane confident in the thought that he was gonna walk out victorious. Juju's radical stance wrt economic emancipation seems to be the 1 option we haven't tried yet.... everything else we've tried so far hasn't worked anyway.

      thozi - 2012-06-27 15:37

      I suppose the negative votes are also in a 'jest' or its correspondents are new to News24?

  • Gerald Jordaan - 2012-06-26 03:19

    The success of this Road to Mangaung conference will be determined by the size of the bar bill !! I wish for a mother of a bar room brawl !!

      Anthony - 2012-06-26 06:17

      yip you wright get the popcorn ready

  • Gerald Jordaan - 2012-06-26 03:29

    THe success of the Road to Mangaung conference will be determined by the size of the bar bill !! I wish the bar room brawl will be the mother of all bar room brawls !!

  • mondli.botha.7 - 2012-06-26 04:33

    As usual they will come with another best document that is not practical to implement. Like Freedom Charter a fantasy document full of fairy tales or people who wrote were on something very foreign to the man kind

      winnieMaboea - 2012-06-28 11:37

      All the ANC can and always do is hold huge mass meetings that are not practical and delivers no positive outcome. You are right, after the conference they will conclude with a fairy tale and expect to implement it, just so that they can look like they are capable of solving a "problem". Really,3500 people in one room and they expect to have order? What a bunch of clowns

  • Ian - 2012-06-26 05:08

    Brett Dawson is correct in his thinking......South Africa is like the soccer team that is leading at half time and then tries to sit and play out the second half, waiting for the win, and then ends up losing the game.

      Koos - 2012-06-26 05:56

      Sounds like the Stormers. Lead the conference but then fade away.

  • menzirethabile.ndosi - 2012-06-26 05:58

    okubi nokuyingozi ukuthi sekunabantu abafunza amalunga ka ANC ushevu nalamavuka esngawazi azbiza nge friends of ANC, kodwak-ke kuyozwakala khona

  • sizwe.bwana - 2012-06-26 06:06

    The peasants are revolting! What shall we do???

  • piet.boerie - 2012-06-26 06:06

    The same clowns who have done nothing with the country for the last 20 years, even with total political control, trying to make changes.. Comrades you are the problem that needs changing. Your outdated failed populist marxists rhetoric is so last centruy while your ruling elite pander to the market capitlists. How long are you going to dance this merry dance. Not long as we cans ee through you.

      ratsaka.eugene - 2012-06-26 06:34

      '.....we can see through you'. Just who is this 'we' in this particular group. Who did you vote for in 94? And 99? And 2004? Any of this years, did you vote for the ANC? My 2-bob bet says no!! This 'merry dance' as u call it, will continue for as long as ANC voters are getting this service they are getting. Because even if it's not good enough a lot of people can still compare the service to before 94. Before 94, there was no service at all and there was no human rights. So, the use of the term 'we' was misplaced in your statement, sir. Because what 'you' see, is not what the majority of voters see.

      Mavhungu Vincent - 2012-06-26 07:37

      Airborne, so does your statement makes sense? I mean: \you went the university of limpopo\. Dont correct others if you are not clean.

      B.b. - 2012-06-26 07:43

      Piet just keep ur vote, we don't want it,,,even if the ANC is doing well, just keep it,,,U r trying to fool us as if u've voted for it in 94,,,ha ha ha pathetic,,,ur DA leader is talking about job creation until she became the premier of Western Cape, still no jobs at WC province,,,,where does she want to see the job opportunities she's always talking about, if she can't create them in the WC? I'll remain loyal to the ANC, no matter wat idiots are saying about it, even if those idiots are within the ANC itself. I'll vote ANC,,,,amandla!

      Raymond - 2012-06-26 08:10

      Mavhungu, what the hell are you on about? Did you even read what I said? Oh, I get it. The spelling looked right to you too.

      Raymond - 2012-06-26 08:21

      wbroli. Thanks for the link. One problem though is another lie which is enforced by the anc that Cassinga was a massacre of refugees. This is incorrect. It was a swapo base and terrorists were killed with the unfortunate collateral damage that accompanies war. THose deaths should therefor be removed from the records as blacks killed by whites during apartheid.

  • sizwe.bwana - 2012-06-26 06:12

    Wonder what this little party is costing?

      winnieMaboea - 2012-06-28 11:51

      TAx payers can answer thta question. What a damn shame

  • Chumscrubber1 - 2012-06-26 06:20

    What soul? An organisation that calls for the murder of my people has no soul. They can all burn in hell. The whole thing will be about fighting for positions in which they can enrich themselves. I have no respect for this lot, nothing at all.

  • Peter - 2012-06-26 07:11

    THey have a soul?? -The tax payers money is "souly" for me -I will put the "soul" of my foot in my mouth every time I speak Who or what are "depolyees"? -Shaik -Cele -

  • Andre - 2012-06-26 07:14

    They will most probably start with the eating and drinking today, start registering tomorrow, one day work on Thursday and only eat on Friday again. All this could have been done in one day!

  • Gerald - 2012-06-26 08:35

    dear lesetjam, voting is different to betting on a soccer match, the point is not to put your money on who you think will win but to actually select the people that you want to lead South Africa. Bottom line here is that you have given the ANC the money that you thought was for your kids education, your pension and medical care and they are going to buy whisky and fried chicken with it. BUT dont worry because I haver planned for the future sensibly and your children can come and clean my kids home one day.

  • kindness.sweet - 2012-06-26 08:44

    How do u feel since the word 'Baas' has disappeared? i'm sure you cant wait for that day where you'll regain control of the country and be called Baas again..i.e. Klein Bass, babakie Baas, Baas, Madam Baas, groet baas, etc. Dream on, that day will never ever come back to SA. your DA party will jst keep getting 20% in the election, nothing more and noting less. White will never rule in Africa. Africa is for Africans so is Europe for Europeans. Economic freedom is what is needed by Black South Africans. Everyone who understands the state in which our country is at agrees with this. I know there are some mentally deranged who will dislike this, and i understand. i will have to consult with doctors to book them into the rehab.

      Gerald - 2012-06-26 09:12

      you sound sweet but seriously naiive. Who cares about being called baas. While you are so busy fighting for your "freedom" you are selling your kids future and just like all the other African States our uneducated, poor black children will be calling the whities boss again one day. Rather choose a party that actually cares about SA's future.

      kindness.sweet - 2012-06-26 10:17

      @Janine;I totally agree with u, that is why we need to take this guys to court now and again so that they will realise that service delivery is a must not a privilege. We need to appoint competant people into position, that is correct, and people who will not oppress others when occupying the positions. I agree, we have the world most uneducated president, but its not abt the president; its actually about those who should deliver on the mandate. let hold all the ministers, DG, DDG etc to account. i'm happy with the role that our media is playing. look at the limpopo education saga, MP carolina water saga.

      winnieMaboea - 2012-06-28 11:55

      Kindness, this is not about which colour rules. Its about a competent government where the best interest of everyone is kept in mind.

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