ANC members cheer at party’s 6th policy conference.
Gallo Pictures/Alet Pretorius
- President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered the opening address at the start of the ANC policy conference on Friday.
- His speech lasted more than an hour, but the delegates were less enthusiastic about his message.
- The ANC’s alliance partners, the SACP and Cosatu, were better received when they discussed land, wages and the need for a state-owned bank.
President Cyril Ramaphosa received a muted response from delegates in his policy conference opening address, which lasted more than an hour.
The usual cheers and energetic applause that ANC conferences signify were rare.
It was the ANC’s alliance leaders, Solly Mapaila of the SACP and Costau’s Zingiswa Losi, who received stronger responses from delegates as they raised critical concerns about the ANC’s plight and its performance in government.
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Ramaphosa’s topics of discussion focused on the economy, unemployment, gender-based violence, local government and the need for the ANC to renew itself.
His most notable point was his view that local government was the weakest.
The ANC did not improve its local government services and instead declined, the ANC leader warned.
Ramaphosa said the ANC lost support due to poor accountability, oversight, fraud and corruption.
“This situation has resulted in declining voter participation in elections and declining support for the ANC. This has resulted in the loss of several key subways.
“Our experience since then has shown that coalition governments are not fit to drive development and deliver quality services effectively.”
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He spoke loudly about what he saw as the party’s need not to tackle corruption for false unity.
Nehawu members protest at ANC policy conference over allegedly unpaid workers.
Gallo Pictures Gallo Pictures/Papi Morake
Ramaphosa said the ANC had to earn its role in society.
His comments about not doing “lip service” to age and gender diversity in the ANC garnered the greatest acclaim from the ANC Youth League and ANC Women’s League delegations.
Mapaila was not prepared for his message of support because he was told at the last minute that he had been added to the program.
He had previously, along with Losi, joined striking ANC staff outside the Nasrec conference room.
Mapaila reprimanded the party for not paying its workers on time.
Despite his lack of preparedness, he made it clear that his problems with the ANC needed no preparation.
Reaching the message that the ANC was in turmoil and needed to recover itself, Mapaila attacked the party for not doing enough to ensure that the SA Reserve Bank’s mandate was changed to tackle unemployment in the country .
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He particularly objected to the fact that the ANC and its alliance partners had never held an economic summit.
Mapaila also questioned why the party had failed to deliver on its promises to establish a state-owned bank.
“The Reserve Bank currently only serves the interests of big business,” he said to loud applause.
SACP leader Solly Mapaila expresses support at ANC policy conference.
“We need to rebuild these state-owned companies instead of destroying them. These are development tools.”
He said the ANC policy conference needed to come up with clear resolutions on land and that he couldn’t “doze off” on that topic.
Losi added that the ANC needed to rebuild its values of unity, fairness and constructive criticism, slamming the ANC hard for not paying its employees their back wages.
She also objected to ANC ministers being given a 3% pay rise, while the government had rejected officials’ request for a pay rise.
Ramaphosa said the party needed to come out of the conference with tangible solutions, especially on unemployment.
The conference ends on Sunday.