President Jacob Zuma has made it clear that one of the main focuses of the ANC's policy conference will be uniting factions and moving forward with renewing the organisation ahead of 2019 when South Africa goes to the polls.
Zuma said on Friday the conference would discuss what needed to be done to "reignite growth" over the next five years. He addressed thousands of ANC delegates at the opening of the party's policy conference at the Nasrec Expo Centre on Friday.
After speaking extensively about the ANC's accomplishments over the past 23 years, Zuma admitted that the party faces several challenges which "impact the character of the organisation".
"There have been some negative tendencies which have caused frustration and disillusionment among members," Zuma said.
Here are some of the big challenges Zuma said the ANC will work through over the next five days:
- Abuse of power; and
- Membership system anomalies, such as the reported manipulation of the membership data, bulk buying of membership and gatekeeping.
"Factionalism is a cancer that must be rooted out of the ANC. It has caused splits in the ANC that has negatively affected us. Slate politics, another manifestation of factionalism, has lost us many good and capable comrades," Zuma said.
"We also need to look at the issue of ill-discipline, including public utterances against the movement. Some members and leaders of the ANC have become primary conveyors of negative information in their own movement."
Zuma was also outspoken on corruption.
"The access to state power and resources has led to allegations that the ANC is a corrupt organisation. Failure to respond adequately and timeously to allegations and the length of time it takes for investigations to be concluded causes immense damage to the ANC," Zuma said.
Then he went on to allegations of state capture, and as always, started with proclaiming that the ANC supports the establishment of a judicial commission of inquiry.
"At a political level, this debate requires a thorough analysis of the South African political economy so we can understand what is meant by state capture. We need to know which business interests have sought to influence the ANC and its government over the years. Such discussion is important because the ANC, as the leader of society, must be at the forefront of fighting corruption," Zuma said.