/ 15 June 1990

Youth wing attacks PAC policy

The youth wing of the Pan Africanist Congress has set itself on a collision course with the PAC leadership – publicly rejecting the national executive’s exploratory economic policy document in its entirety. The document looks at the failures of South Africa’s present economic system and sets out strategies for achieving a new economic policy. It also examines the weaknesses and strengths of the liberation movements and the government. 

What emerges from the analysis is that – the outcome of a negotiated settlement will be a plus for the resistance movement – ”the limited outcome of a negotiated settlement will mobilise African people, bantustans will not survive and the present South African government will not be able to step back to old style repression”. The new policy – still under discussion by the Congress’s national leadership – was unveiled earlier this month by general secretary Benny Alexander at a conference of the African Council of Hawkers and Infomal Business. 

In a strongly worded statement, the Azanian National Youth Unity claimed the ”contemptible” document directly opposed PAC policy. Comparing itself to the ”watchdog” African National Congress Youth League of the 1950s, Azanyu said: ”It is a document which is, presumably, the work of ail element who, in his utter despair, decided to switch on to the payroll of the CIA.” Alexander yesterday said he had delivered the contents of the document to the Achib meeting ”on behalf of the president (Zeph Mothopeng)”. 

Azanyu, through its general secretary Carter Seleke, doubts that Mothopeng is aware of the publicising of the document. Alexander is quick to point out that this does not imply a change in the PAC anti-negotiations position. ‘We are merely assessing the strengths of the liberation movement and promoting the failure of negotiations,” he adds. 

Yetr Seleke criticises the documented assessment and sees it rather as promotion of a policy change. ”’The author of the document claims we are militarily weak, and therefore we have to negotiate. That calls for a complete change in policy.” 

The document also states that workers should not lead the struggle for economic and political liberation and concedes that the PAC embraces all classes. It adds that if the workers were to lead the struggle it would cause division. “The leadership of the African workers still owes allegiance to the nationalist leaders,” the paper reads. Widespread nationalisation, decentralisation of the economy and redistribution of land are also advocated. –  Leon Maber and Cassandra Moodley

This article originally appeared in the Weekly Mail.


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