NEWS

ANC Defers Divisive Land Debate To A Special NEC

25/03/2017 10:59 SAST | Updated 25/03/2017 12:05 SAST
SIPHIWE SIBEKO / REUTERS

The ANC will hold a special National Executive Committee meeting to discuss the divisive land issue, also expected to be used as a rallying call ahead of its December elective conference.

Two sources confirmed to News24 that the party decided on Friday night to defer the land debate to a special NEC meeting instead of discussing it this weekend. The party's highest decision making body between conferences is meeting in Irene until Sunday.

The meeting adopted a proposal by its national working committee for a special meeting, following deep divisions that have also played out in the public arena. The Mail and Guardian reported on Friday that party deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa had suggested the special NEC at the Monday NWC amidst differences on the matter.

The sources confirm that President Jacob Zuma had pushed through his radical stance for expropriation without compensation in his political address to the meeting, arguing it is a long standing party resolution.

His address was also seen as "hitting back" at his detractors.

"The president was very hard, especially to those who thought he was being a populist by calling for legislation to be changed to allow for expropriation without compensation."

"He told us that expropriation without compensation was a party resolution that has not been implemented and that when he calls for it, he cant be labelled a populist," the source said.

Constitution

Several ANC leaders including Science and Technology minister Naledi Pandoor, Treasurer General Zweli Mkhize and Secretary General Gwede Mantashe have publicly contradicted Zuma on the need to change the Constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation.

Zuma recently also contradicted party Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu when he said that the ANC in Parliament should have voted in favour of an EFF motion to amend section 25 of the constitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation.

The EFF offered the governing party its 6% to give it a two thirds majority to amend the constitution, but the party caucus rejected it, supported by the DA.

The special NEC on land is expected to be held before the policy conference. The divisions on land are expected to play out at the June Policy conference when Zuma's supporters are expected to push for the more radical stance.

They are unhappy with the policy document released for discussion, arguing that its stance on land is watered down from the 2012 Mangaung congress that in principle supported expropriation without compensation within section 25 of the constitution. -- News24