/ 6 December 2007

ANC ‘will be more divided’ after Polokwane

The African National Congress will remain divided after its Polokwane conference, South African Communist Party (SACP) chairperson Gwede Mantashe on Thursday.

He was speaking at a public seminar about the future and challenges of the ANC.

”The ANC will come out more divided after Limpopo. Divisions will last longer if any of the main competing groups win.

”Prominent leaders will be hell-bent on attacking each other,” Mantashe said.

He said the coalition of forces that seemed united now should start thinking of further divisions among its ranks after the Polokwane conference.

”People in the JZ [Jacob Zuma] camp should start thinking of class contestation that will appear among themselves.

”Make no mistake, that camp is populated with hard-nose capitalists,” he said.

Mantashe said this grouping was united, not because all of its members supported Zuma, but rather because they wanted change.

Speaking at the same seminar, Adam Habib, Professor of political science at the University of Johannesburg, said divisions were not a result of the personalities of Mbeki and Zuma, but structural conditions of the alliance.

”The ANC inherited a bankrupt government in 1994 and that forced them to shift from the alliance’s perceived developmental state to a more capitalist friendly policy.

”What then happened was that leaders opposing this policy were left behind, some went to entrepreneurship, but now they are back in the Zuma camp,” Habib said.

”The dilemma for Mbeki and the ANC government is that after 1996 they found themselves confined between capitalists’ money and resources, and the poor’s vote and capacity to be violent,” he said.

Habib said analysis of the succession race in the context of Mbeki’s personality was wrong.

”In Polokwane it may happen that the leadership come up with a compromise candidate who will heal the divisions — only for a short while.

”But structural conditions will overwhelm that candidate and after two years we will be back where we are now,” he said.

Mantashe said whoever won in Polokwane should abandon the ”we-will-fix-them attitude” and strive to unite the ANC.

”People are tired, they can’t talk to each other after spending many years together. Unity is necessary,” Mantashe said.

The ANC will hold its 52nd national conference at Polokwane in Limpopo on December 16 to 20. — Sapa