ANC to decide on its own objectives, says alliance

The African National Congress (ANC) will continue to determine, within its own structures, how best to advance its strategic objectives, the tripartite alliance resolved on Tuesday at a meeting of its political council.

The resolution came after concerns were expressed in the Mail & Guardian last week by ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) member Billy Masetlha at the growing dominance in the party of its alliance partners, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the South African Communist Party.

Masetlha claimed SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande, who is also the country’s Minister of Higher Education and Training, was trying to influence the direction of the ANC.

“I will have a problem with someone trying to impose a communist manifesto on the ANC. We fired a lot of [comrades] in the past who wanted to do the same thing,” he told the newspaper.

At the time, the ANC dismissed Masetlha’s concerns as “unfounded and regrettable”.

In a speech on Monday, President Jacob Zuma said the unity of the alliance was “paramount and fundamental”.

It was the ANC’s task as alliance leader to ensure it remained intact, and it was the role of the alliance’s leaders to “keep the ANC strong and united so that it can lead the alliance and the country effectively”, Zuma said.

At its ordinary meeting on Monday, the alliance’ political council reconfirmed that it respected “the right of individual alliance partners to discuss and arrive at their own decisions on how they seek to pursue their strategic objectives”.

“Consistent with this principle, the ANC will continue to determine, in its own structures and processes, how best to advance its own strategic objectives,” it resolved.

It declared its commitment to previous resolutions to strengthen the alliance as a strategic political centre which would “act together as a revolutionary formation to advance the objectives of the revolution”.

The council, which consists of national officials of the ANC, SACP, Cosatu and the SA National Civic Organisation reconfirmed the relevance of the alliance.

It also confirmed that the alliance would act together in the joint programme of social transformation and would use its collective strength in the search for better ways to respond to new challenges.

“To achieve this, the alliance must continue to enhance co-ordination amongst alliance partners, and to strengthen the organisational capacity of each individual component,” it said.

It noted that the alliance’s national operations had significantly improved, but that its sub-national functionality needed attention.

It said the Cabinet had been restructured to deepen the alliance’s capacity to “systematically implement our priorities as outlined in the manifesto”.

In a statement on the meeting, ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu said it was agreed to hold an Alliance summit in November on implementation of its priorities: education, health and national health insurance, the fight against crime and corruption, rural development, and the creation of decent jobs.

Bilateral meetings of alliance partners would precede the talks, he said.—Sapa

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