KZN numbers dominate conference
IF NUMBERS are anything to go by, President Jacob Zuma's home province of KwaZulu-Natal is set to dominate proceedings at the ANC's policy conference starting today at Gallagher Estate in Midrand.
The province will have 500 delegates attending the four-day conference while the Eastern Cape will have 420.
The policy conference is likely to set the tone for the ruling party's elective conference in Mangaung in December.
The ANC's head of policy, Jeff Radebe, said the conference was not about numbers but about discussing policies.
Radebe said audits for the centenary were used to allocate delegates and that it was the responsibility of provinces to allocate members equitably to all the planned 11 commissions.
"This would ensure that not one commission has more members than others. The provinces will be pressed upon so that they do exactly that," he said.
"Even if one commission is deferred, that will not be physically possible," adding that the officials would monitor proceedings so that all delegates attend all commissions.
Radebe was addressing a media briefing in Johannesburg.
He said the party had learnt from previous national general councils and "would not tolerate" any ill-discipline.
The Free State, which only held its controversial provincial elective conference at the weekend, will send 162 delegates. The Northern Cape will send 106 delegates, and the North West 117.
Free State chairman Ace Magashule told his supporters after his re-election at the weekend to "aggressively force" their views at the conference.
The party expects about 3500 people who will include members of the tripartite alliance, diplomats and business representatives.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said he expected the next few days to be exciting as the party would be engaging in "robust and candid debates". This includes the much debated organisational renewal, strategy and tactics document which discusses the controversial "Second Transition" - a proposition which has been rejected by a number of party structures for "separating political freedom from economic transformation".
Zuma has lambasted those who are critical of his call for a second transition, saying they should come up with an alternative.
Yesterday, Mantashe said the fact that people express different views on these documents was in itself an indication that there would be a "very highly theoretical debate" that would bring practical solutions to what the ANC is facing.
Mantashe was dismissive of the idea that the ANC had not achieved a better life for all. "We know a lot of work has been done, but more still needs to be done," he said before dealing with the fast growth of the black middle class.
He said the policy conference would be a good indicator of what would come in Mangaung.
The party would have debated and decided its policy mandate by then.