The first few days of the ANC's policy conference have been a "really enriching process and show the ANC at its best," Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said at the ANC's policy conference on Sunday.
Speaking to press while meeting businesspeople on a walk-about at the conference, Ramaphosa said the party is at its best "when it looks at itself in a very critical manner and begins a journey of self-correction, of healing and of renewal". He said the conference is steadily achieving these goals.
"As a delegate myself, I am highly elated. I am really in high, good spirits. Even the delegates are in good spirits. There is unity of purpose. There aren't divisions as many would have expected. People are putting their ideas together and we are going to emerge with very good conclusions that we will communicate to you all," he said.
'A conference of the branches'
Following two days of examining the ANC's organisational health, strategies, and tactics, Ramaphosa said discussions will now turn to substantive policy matters.
He praised branch delegates at the conference, saying they have been "mind-bogglingly" clear on an ideological, political and substantive policies issues. "They [delegates] are debating issues around the economy, how to restructure and reform our state-owned enterprises, what we should do to bring about radical socio-economic transformation and so on," he said.
The deputy president stressed the conference is a bottom-up, rather than top-down, endeavour. "This is a conference of the branches," he said. "What we did at the top was just to make proposals to guide our branches".
Leadership at the conference is there to listen to what branch delegates are saying, he said. "The branch delegates are well-armed by the experiences of our people; by the poverty, unemployment and inequality. So everyone who is here is really infused with ideas or are coming forward with ideas of how we can address the challenges our country and people face".
'Modernising the ANC amid the fourth industrial revolution'
Ramaphosa said the organisational diagnostic report presented to media on Friday "looks at the ANC quite critically".
"The document immediately said to us as members of the ANC that we must go beyond raising issues that are problematic for the ANC to immediately seeking solutions for how we can correct the mistakes and weaknesses of the ANC," he said.
Ramaphosa said the ANC is a living organism that will go through its up and downs which the document recognises.
Moving forward, he said the party is analysing the balance of forces in society and developing a clear strategy to address the issues threatening the movement's strength.
"We are debating what to do with an economy that is not pumping on all cylinders... and how the ANC can gather its own inherent strength to become the leader of society and at the head of the transformative processes that are underway in the country," he said.
Importantly, he said, the ANC has to reposition itself to respond to "these modern days of the fourth industrial revolution". Organisational restructuring in pursuit of a party fit for purpose -- including the question of whether to have one or two secretary generals and deputy presidents -- is being debated, he said.
The design of the ANC will be debated, including how it can reposition itself as both a liberation movement and as the governing party able to carry out "the mission we were given right from 1912", he said.
The ANC on Sunday concludes the third day of its 5th policy conference at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg.