Key policy discussions on the cards for Mangaung
Economic transformation, organisational renewal and strategy and tactics will be among the key policy discussions at the ANC conference in Mangaung.
Transforming the economy was one of the main issues discussed at the party’s policy conference in June, when it agreed that more was needed for the South African economy to be inclusive and to benefit the previously disadvantaged.
Its vision is to build an economy in which the state, private capital, co-operatives and other forms of social ownership complement each other to eliminate poverty and foster economic growth.
While the African National Congress has made significant progress in areas such as protecting human rights, the party’s biggest problem has been transforming the economy to benefit the majority.
It agreed in June that it should “re-assert the objective of transforming the racial character of South African capital” given the problems of broad-based black economic empowerment.
At Mangaung, the party will also discuss the issue of nationalisation of the mines.
In recommendations from its policy conference, it rejected “wholesale nationalisation” in favour of “strategic nationalisation”, and called for “transformative state intervention in the economy”.
This could take many forms, one of which is state ownership, and includes the more strategic use of existing state-owned companies, and strategic nationalisation.
The proposed job-seekers grant will also be up for discussion.
It was recommended in June that the need for the grant be tied to compulsory and targeted skills development and learning.
A commission on the document agreed to explore the implementation of a two year national youth service, with optional elements for sports, recreation, and military and vocational training “so as to instil cohesion, nation-building and discipline”.
Another key policy paper is strategy and tactics.
It noted that the ANC had to enter a second phase of democracy.
The first transition was in the past 18-years, during which the focus was political emancipation.
The second phase had to focus on social and economic transformation in the next 30 to 50 years.
“There was broad agreement that we are in a continuing transition from apartheid colonialism to a national democratic society,” the ANC said in the paper.
“This second phase of the transition should be characterised by more radical policies and decisive action to effect thorough-going socio-economic and continues democratic transformation, as well as the renewal of the ANC, the alliance and the broad democratic forces.”
There were reported internal divisions about the paper and the concept of what was initially called a “second transition” at the policy conference.
At the time, ANC policy head Jeff Radebe said delegates accepted the content and thrust of the document, but its name had been changed to the “second phase of the transition”.
Just before the policy conference, there were suggestions that the document was linked to President Jacob Zuma’s re-election campaign.
However, during the conference national executive committee member Tony Yengeni dismissed this as “mischievous”.
It was later revealed that Yengeni wrote the document.
It was criticised by provinces supporting a change of leadership in the party.
In ANC said at the conference that its commissions had agreed the “radical shift proposed in this second phase of the transition will require maximum unity of the ANC and the alliance”.
With internal divisions and ill-discipline continuing to dog the ANC, efforts at renewal were also a topic in the 13 policy documents discussed at the policy conference.
Cadre deployment was a focus point and was declared the “centre-piece” of organisational renewal. The conference recommended that the Mangaung conference declare the next 10 years the “decade of the cadre”.
Its focus would be on the ideological, political, academic and moral training of a “critical mass of ANC members.”
The ANC has split into factions ahead of Mangaung, amid suspensions and expulsions because of members’ conduct.
“More urgent steps should be taken to protect the image of the organisation and enhance its standing in society by ensuring that urgent action is taken to deal with public officials, leaders and members of the ANC who face damaging allegations of improper conduct,” the ANC noted in June.
It found that deployment should always be preceded by academic training and by the political preparation of cadres.
It should also be guided by a system of monitoring and performance evaluation of cadres deployed and elected to leadership positions.
Efforts at renewal would include recruiting and training students and young intellectuals.
The ANC Women’s League, Youth League and MK Veterans’ Association would undergo compulsory political training.