Zuma tells NDP critics to choose their words
The national development plan (NDP) has been punted by the government as a blue print to create jobs, eliminate poverty and boost economic growth in the country.
But some Cosatu-affiliated unions criticised the adoption of the NDP at the ANC's electoral conference in Mangaung, saying the decision did not represent a radical economic shift.
Rejecting the plan, the Numsa, went as far as describing it as a right-wing document that mirrored the Democratic Alliance's policies, which could only create hair dressing and window cleaning jobs.
The union threatened not to campaign for the ANC during next year's election if it intended using the document as its election manifesto. Instead, Numsa said it intended to mobilise workers to protest against the plan.
Addressing the ANC's provincial general council in KwaZulu-Natal on Friday, Zuma warned alliance leaders who continued to criticise the plan.
"You may have views [on the national development plan], but you must respect the views expressed by ANC delegates in Mangaung. You must choose your words [when criticising], particularly if you are one of us," said Zuma to raptures of applause.
He described the adoption of the NDP as one of the major achievements of the ANC's national conference in December.
"It is important [to note] that the ANC members applied their minds in respect of the NDP. They started looking at the plan from the policy conference in June last year. Whoever criticises us must think twice. You can't say we were sleeping. You may have views, but you must respect the views of ANC members," said Zuma.
Earlier on Friday, South African Communist Party provincial secretary Themba Mthembu said the party supported the NDP.
"There is nothing DA in the document. It shows the ANC is not only leading itself, but the whole country. That is why the ANC remains a movement," said Mthembu.
Outgoing ANC chairperson of KwaZulu-Natal and the party's new treasurer general Zweli Mkhize said the adoption of the NDP was the second most important achievement of the ANC's 53rd national conference.
"It is important for the ANC to ensure that this vision is understood and shared by all the people in our province. The NDP must inform the programmes that the ANC conducts in the communities. In the case of KwaZulu-Natal, the government has designed the interpretation of the NDP in the form of a provincial growth and development plan. The importance of the plan is the focus on the plan to expand our economy and create jobs. The reality of youth unemployment poses the most single threat to social stability as more and more youth are yearly turned into armies of unemployed," he said.
"The priorities of food security, agrarian reform, quality health, education and fighting crime are well articulated in the NDP. These programmes must be part and parcel of ANC political programme to orientate leaders who focus on fighting for positions for the sake of positions. The ANC must focus on service delivery as the basis of our political engagement," said Mkhize.
In a draft document prepared for the federation's next central executive committee, Cosatu's secretariat said the adoption of the NDP contradicted the notion of a radical shift promised elsewhere in ANC resolutions.
The Cosatu draft, according to Business Day, claimed after Mangaung, concern emerged over the ANC's political posture, which it said favoured capital over labour.
"The movement has politically chosen to place emphasis on particularly those issues that are perceived to be taking on the labour movement, for example the youth wage subsidy, violence in strikes and education as an essential service, as well as punting the NDP".
The debate on the NDP is likely to pit moderates against workerists within the deeply divided Cosatu, with those elected to the ANC's national executive committee, including its president Sdumo Dlamini, likely to push for the adoption of the plan by the federation's central executive committee meeting in May, while those aligned to Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi – who are also seen as radicals – are likely to push for the rejection of the document.