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Eusebius on TimesLIVE

PODCAST | A festival of ideas or dress rehearsal for elective conference?

29 July 2022 - 14:40
President Cyril Ramaphosa with ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe at the opening of the ANC policy conference on July 29 2022 at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg.
President Cyril Ramaphosa with ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe at the opening of the ANC policy conference on July 29 2022 at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg.
Image: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times

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In this episode of Eusebius on TimesLIVE, he is joined by fellow political analyst Ebrahim Fakir, and they discuss whether the ANC's policy conference this weekend will produce honest and productive debate.

Fakir has written a trenchant critique of the ANC's obsession, as he sees it, with externalising its problems. The ANC, he argues, still posits “colonialism of a special kind” as the prism through which to understand contemporary ills in society.

This approach, he argues, is anachronistic and dishonest because it does not adequately refer to ANC governance failures which are the major drivers of our poor economic and socioeconomic indices.

McKaiser and Fakir also discuss the failures of the party to implement policies already adopted and which are being repackaged for hackneyed discussion this weekend.


Image: Nolo Moima

An example, which McKaiser wrote about on TimesLIVE, is the ANC's discussion document on “organisational renewal”.  In 2012, it committed to a “decade of renewal” which, argues McKaiser, has not played out as the party resolved. This led McKaiser and Fakir to also debate whether the ANC's policy stocktaking and debates can be regarded as a genuine festival of ideas.

Fakir concedes that although in his view the post-1994 era is still too short a period to talk about ANC conference patterns, McKaiser is justified in asserting that the conference, like previous ones, is best seen as a dress rehearsal for the elective conference scheduled for the end of the year.

They end the discussion by reflecting on why, despite these analytic and political problems with the party, citizens interested in the state of the nation and in the health of our democracy have no choice but to keep tabs on what happens at ANC conferences.

Do you agree with Fakir and McKaiser? Have a listen, and assess their analysis for yourself.

To listen to previous episodes, go here.

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