ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule says the deadline – next Sunday – set by Treasury to receive submissions on its 77-page economic turnaround strategy document will not be binding on ANC structures and members.
The ANC top six opened internal consultation about the controversial document last week.
“The document is out there in the public. We are calling on everybody in the society to discuss it. Deadlines are something else,” Magashule told City Press on the sidelines of the Students’ Representative Council elections campaign at the Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria on Wednesday.
He said in a meeting with the top six last Monday, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni was encouraged to engage with alliance partners, including trade union federation Cosatu and the SA Communist Party (SACP).
“I am sure people will be given more time. The ANC will discuss the matter at the end of the month. So the deadline of September 15 will not be possible,” said Magashule.
However, Mboweni said on Friday that the return date of September 15 remained unchanged because “time is of the essence”.
Mboweni said “something positive” was unfolding, adding that “there is massive support from business, other formations, many economists, opinion makers and individuals both at home and abroad”.
“The key issue is to listen, analyse, question and integrate that which is internally consistent and improves the content and form of the Economic Strategy”.
He said the country could not “fiddle” whilst we face massive challenges. “Speed, but not haste as they say. Forward forever, backwards never. The momentum of ideas must go on. Inertia must not set in”.
The “premature” release of the turnaround plan by the Treasury had left many in the ANC and its alliance partners fuming, with some saying that he should have consulted more widely, and others saying that Mboweni should have let President Cyril Ramaphosa own the document.
The SACP said it had not yet held a meeting with Mboweni.
“To the extent he was encouraged to engage with ANC alliance partners we will listen to him and tell him where we stand, come from and want to go to,” said party spokesperson Alex Mashilo.
Mashilo said that on August 19 the SACP held a bilateral meeting with Cosatu, as well as with the ANC separately.
It was agreed that an alliance process on the economic situation would be initiated. It would start by convening the Alliance Political Council to discuss, among other things, the “serious economic situation we face and agree on a policy on the way forward”.
He said: “The agreed alliance process remains a primary process organisationally and there is no substitute for it, even if it is important to encourage engagement through other processes and these should be mutually supportive rather than exclusionary.”
The SACP held its augmented central committee meeting this weekend and resolved that Mboweni’s economic paper violated the manner in which alliance partners were expected to consult each other, News24 reported.
SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande said the SACP had not outright rejected the economic paper, but rejected some of its “proposals and suggestions”.
Cosatu first deputy president Mike Shingange said the trade union Federation had not met Mboweni and “we don’t know when he intends to meet us, but we don’t mind him it’s the ANC we want to meet”.
“As for the deadline we will make our inputs once the document is presented at Nedlac. We don’t want to input, we don’t know it’s authority as well as it’s standing”.