Call for policy shift
THE ANC is preparing for a radical departure from the Convention for a Democratic South Africa-era (Codesa) economic policies.
It now wants to advocate for "drastic" changes not based on the compromises between business and political interests as was the case during the negotiations that led to the transition from apartheid to democracy.
Give-and-take compromises were the defining features of the transitional negotiations in the 1990s and helped to shape the current Constitution that protects property rights.
Leading the call for a policy shift is party president Jacob Zuma. In his opening address to delegates yesterday, he acknowledged the ANC's failure to significantly transform the economy in favour of poor black people since 1994.
While Zuma acknowledged concerns raised by business, he said the anger building among township communities, who often took to the streets and took part in violent service delivery protests, could no longer be ignored.
In seeking to gain support for his call, Zuma said the ANC had made "absolutely necessary" compromises during the Codesa talks but that the time had come to do something "drastic" to deal with unemployment, poverty and the inequalities that haunt the nation.
Zuma lauded significant progress made by the government since 1994, citing the millions of RDP houses that have been built as well as provision of water and electricity but said more needed to be done.
"Despite these achievements, the time has come for us to do something drastic. We need to get back to the basics and take the difficult decisions we could not take in 1994," he said.
However, he suggested that a radical policy shift did not include nationalisation of mines.
In an apparent snub of the ANC Youth League's position on the matter, Zuma said the ANC needed to think about more than just nationalisation. "We must think deeper than simply to nationalise or not to nationalise (mines)."
He again punted the controversial Second Transition policy proposal, arguing that it would usher in an era of economic growth and transformation in the next 30 to 50 years.
Zuma said with only two years left before South Africa completed its second decade of freedom, questions would be asked about the way forward.
"In the Strategy and Tactics 2012, we ask the conference to look into the matter of the Second Transition. We move from the premise that in only two years, we will have concluded the second decade of freedom and we will start asking difficult questions," he said, arguing that the first 18 years had been characterised as the first transition. - email@example.com