ANC: ‘Power struggle’ also a party view

Views expressed in the media that the African National Congress’s (ANC) upcoming national conference was nothing more than a ”power struggle” also came in part from within the organisation, its secretary general said on Monday.

”We know that the media also speaks to members of the ANC from time to time … and it is also a reflection of some thinking within our ranks,” Kgalema Motlanthe told journalists after the ANC’s weekend national executive committee (NEC) meeting.

President Thabo Mbeki had noted an ”intensive campaign” in both the local and international press to reduce the December 16 to 20 conference to nothing more than a leadership election.

Motlanthe added that Mbeki’s view was not meant as a ”swipe at the media”.

He said that candidates for ANC leadership posts were not discussed at the NEC meeting.

”The NEC did not consider any candidate at all because the procedures adopted by the NEC clearly provide for a bottom-up approach,” he said.

Branches would nominate candidates. These would be sent to provincial level before being forwarded to the party’s electoral commission. The commission would then approach candidates who would indicate whether they intended standing or not.

Motlanthe said the party’s 52nd national conference, to be held in Polokwane, Limpopo, would have as its theme: ”Building a caring society. Advancing in unity towards 2012”.

Apart from choosing its leaders, conference delegates would also review organisational challenges and the progress of the ”national democratic struggle”. The goals leading up to the ANC’s centenary and conference in 2012 would also be determined.

About 4 000 voting delegates were expected to attend, of which about 90% were expected to come from the party’s branches. He said it would cost the party ”an arm and a leg”, but did not provide figures.

”We have very strong negotiating and persuading capabilities, so we hope we can get things at half price,” he said.

He said Polokwane was ready and the party was confident that delegates would be accommodated ”properly”.

Umkhonto weSizwe veterans would have observer status only and not be allowed to vote, unless they came as delegates from branches.

Motlanthe could not say how many members the ANC had at present as an audit was still being completed.

On Cape Town mayor Helen Zille’s arrest, Motlanthe said while all should be treated equally before the law, she should be handled with the dignity her office called for.

”We think that a person holding such high public office should be treated with some decorum … It is these kinds of developments which once written about and read offshore give a negative impression of the country.”

Zille was arrested on Sunday during a protest march against drug dealers. — Sapa

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