POLITICS

What Unites The ANC Is More Important Than What Divides The Party -- Jacob Zuma

Factionalism, monopoly capital and improved electoral procedures are top of mind for the ruling party.

05/07/2017 16:35 SAST | Updated 05/07/2017 16:35 SAST
Gianluigi Guercia / AFP / Getty Images
President Jacob Zuma gestures as he gives his closing remarks during the closing session of the ANC policy conference in Johannesburg on July 5 2017.

President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday addressed thousands of ANC delegates at the close of the party's fifth National Policy Conference.

In his speech, Zuma stressed recommendations on factionalism and slate politics, monopoly capital and unity.

Here are some the president's most important points:

The ANC has apparently come out of the conference united

Zuma said the ANC remains committed to the notion that "what unites us" is more important than "what divides us".

"There are no losers and winners among the delegates to this conference; the only winner is the ANC," Zuma said.

"This conference strengthened the culture of robust internal debate in the ANC, anchored on the principle that we can disagree without being disagreeable. After all, we are not enemies, we are comrades."

The party will strive to elect better members

Zuma said the ANC has agreed to strengthen cadre development as well as the selection criteria and election processes to "ensure that [it] produces the best possible leaders to take the National Democratic Revolution forward".

"We will strengthen our discipline, our integrity commission and our ability to monitor delivery of our promises to the people, and effective implementation of our policies. There was general agreement in commissions on the need to elect leaders according to the principles of integrity, discipline, honesty, trustworthiness, service to the people, track record, capacity and hard work," Zuma said.

The end to factionalism and slate politics

The president spent the majority of his time on this issue, highlighting some of the recommendations he says are necessary to ensure an end to factionalism in the party.

He said previous conferences have shown that the "winner takes all" attitude is not in the best interest of the ANC.

He urged delegates to promote a consensus in the structures of the ANC that candidates contesting for official positions should feature in the leadership collective, even if they lose.

"As a practical measure to put an end to the entrenched practice of slate politics and factionalism, branches should consider a proposal to have a second deputy president so as to include the candidate who obtained the second-highest votes in the contest for the position of president," Zuma said

"There are options to be considered by the national conference for more deputy secretaries general, an additional deputy president and more directly elected full time NEC members to manage the day-to-day work of the organisation in policy, political education, elections, organising and communications."

He said he would travel to all nine provinces to promote this concept.

White monopoly capital and what it means

Zuma said it is technically correct in the context of the South African political economy to talk of white monopoly capital. But he said it is also important to lay the emphasis "on the fact" that it is monopoly capital as such that is the "primary adversary of the collective interests of our people, regardless of its colour".

"The most critical thing, comrades, is that we share a common view about what measures we need to take to realise our ultimate objectives. We must not allow ourselves to be divided simply on the basis of conceptualisation and grand theory," Zuma said.