POLITICS
16/12/2017 18:19 SAST | Updated 16/12/2017 18:35 SAST

7 Highlights of Zuma's Last Speech As ANC Leader... From The Prepared Notes

Zuma’s speech was twofold: first focusing on the need for radical socioeconomic transformation and then reflecting on challenges facing the party.

President  Jacob Zuma gestures to his supporters at the 54th National Conference of the ANC at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg.
Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
President Jacob Zuma gestures to his supporters at the 54th National Conference of the ANC at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg.

President Jacob Zuma delivered his last speech as party president on Saturday -- a worrying account of an organisation scrambling to fix its internal strife while at the same time looking to transform the country it governs.

Zuma's speech was twofold: first focusing on the need for radical socioeconomic transformation in key sectors such land proprietorship, mining and concentration of ownership in business. It then turned to highlight the challenges facing the party, such as state capture and corruption, leadership contestation and factionalism.

He spoke for more than two hours. Here are the themes and main points of his speech in seven easy points:

1. RADICAL SOCIOECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION

Zuma said it is clear from the ANC's last national conference in 2012 that it had to implement more radical measures to realise the injunction of the Freedom Charter that citizens shall share in the wealth of the country. He said RET, therefore, underpins the policy framework of the ANC.

"We must be mindful of the fact that the primary benefactors of the current socioeconomic status quo will by nature be opposed to any talk to RET because it challenges and threatens the status quo and seeks to transform it fundamentally," he said.

"Reckless action will plunge the country into deep economic and social stresses. We must tread carefully but act because of the serious economic challenges facing our country currently."

He said the party would use "to the maximum" its "strategic levers", like the National Assembly and legislature, for example, to influence the behaviour of the private sector and drive transformation.

2. LAND REDISTRIBUTION

Zuma said land, which is the "ultimate natural resource", must be distributed in an equitable manner while enhancing its productivity and ensuring food security.

"The ANC has made considerable progress in the last five years particularly in establishing a strong policy and legislative framework... The office of the valuer-general has been set up which has begun to change the manner in which calculation of fair compensation is done," he said.

3. MINING

Zuma said partial progress has been made on targets set out in the Mining Charter that sought 26 percent of black ownership in the industry by 2014.

"Some progress has been made but it is partial. The revised Mining Charter of 2017 takes this into consideration and raises the targeted black ownership to 30 percent. Challenges facing the mining industry and the need to have policy certainty requires action from us the governing party... We also need to protect jobs in a different economic environment in the mining sector," he said.

4. STATE CAPTURE AND CORPORATE CORRUPTION

"Among the key obstacles to transformation are the high levels of concentration in the economy as well as the collusion or corporate corruption and cartels. Comrades will know the deep and bitter legacy of economic collusion which is equivalent to a form of corruption from the days of apartheid," Zuma said.

"It is referred to in softer terms such as collusion, accounting irregularities or lapses in corporate governance. Theft and corruption in the private sector is (sic) as bad as that in government and must be dealt with decisively by law enforcement agencies."

He said allegations of state capture would be investigated through the judicial commission of inquiry.

"Let me emphasise that we need to find ways of protecting the ANC from corporate greed and ensure the decisions we take are informed by the policies of the ANC and are not dictated to by business interests," he said.

5. LEADERSHIP CONTESTATION

Zuma warned that delegates must build a resilient ANC that can withstand "undue pressure" and enable the party to conduct its work freely.

"All of us here know what is the right thing to do and I believe we all love our movement and that's why we are given a choice to choose whom do we think should lead the ANC. But when we made those choices, it's not like we made one choice, we made different choices because we are a big organisation," he said.

"The ANC policy says no matter how strong you felt about the candidate, once the branches have made a choice, you have to respect that and agree to be led... Therefore, there is no need that this time we want to change the culture and act differently."

6. ORGANISATIONAL RENEWAL

Zuma admitted that "negative tendencies" have crept into the ANC.

"The movement is at a crossroads. While we identify corporate greed as posing a serious threat to the ANC, we also need to look at internal dynamics within our organisation which makes it possible for external influences to pose a threat," he said.

"Negative tendencies creeping in have intensified over the years. They are threatening the survival of the ANC... It is clear that our failure to confront problems head-on and solve them have begun to take their toll on the movement."

7. FACTIONALISM

Zuma said factionalism is the ANC's biggest threat.

"Because of factionalism, we have seen the emergence of splinter groups over the last 10 years. Slate politics, another manifestation of factionalism, has also cost us many good and capable comrades. Ill-discipline has also continued to afflict the ANC which has taken new forms in the recent past," he said.