The national liberation movement – ANC – was formed in 1912 to unite South Africans and spearhead the struggle for fundamental political, social and economic change. For ten decades the ANC has led the struggle against racism and oppression, organizing mass resistance, mobilizing the international community and taking up the armed struggle against apartheid. They then achieved a decisive democratic breakthrough in the 1994 elections, where it was given a firm mandate to negotiate a new democratic Constitution for South Africa. The new Constitution was adopted in 1996, and the ANC was re-elected in 1999 to the national and provincial government with an increased mandate. The policies of the ANC are determined by its membership and its leadership is accountable to the membership.
Membership of the ANC is open to all South Africans above the age of 18 years, who accept its principles, policies, and programmes, irrespective of race, colour and creed. The Freedom Charter, which was adopted by the Congress of the People in 1955, remains the basic policy document of the ANC. The Freedom Charter declares that: “The people shall govern. All national groups shall have equal rights. The people shall share in the country’s wealth. The land shall be shared among those who work it. All shall be equal before the law. All shall enjoy equal human rights… to name a few.
The party went into the ANC Policy Conference divided, with veterans boycotting the first 2 days. This is because they feel that the ANC, which is supposed to be committed to responsibility, humility and selfless dedication in the struggle for a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society, has today been stymied by corruption and factionalism.
President Jacob Zuma about the ANC: “Our movement has lost many talented and capable comrades in whom it invested significantly due to slate politics and the terrible manifestation of factionalism. In this regard a proposal has been made in some commissions that we should all encourage lobbying practices that will allow a unifying electoral programme” that is, the first prize would be unanimity and consensus..
Think Polokwane and Thabo Mbeki’s crowd, whom Msholozi’s guys were just too happy to see the back of (although one or two were retained in the Cabinet until they could no more be endured). They even left and formed “an organisation” – the Congress of the People.”
For the rest of his closing speech, Zuma negotiated things like a trapeze artist, giving balance to the compromise positions on key economic fights doubling as proxy positions in the party like land redistribution (ANC must find ways to do it within the Constitution, and even find two-thirds to change the Constitution if necessary) and monopoly capital (although Zuma made it mischievously clear he still thought the real enemy was the capital with colour).
There were songs of unity as smiling and backslapping delegates broke up into their provincial caucuses to pick up their lunch parcels and catch buses home. The treacherous and somewhat uncertain journey to December has just started.