Mashatile calls for 'disciplined' succession debate

Gauteng African National Congress chairperson Paul Mashatile on Sunday endorsed a call for a debate about succession within the party, saying this was already happening outside its discourse.

It was unfair that ANC members became onlookers while the debate continued, he told journalists at the party’s provincial general council (PGC) in Centurion.

“Our call to our PGC is, we need, as we prepare to go Mangaung [for the ANC’s elective conference in 2012], to begin a disciplined discussion on these issues,” he said.

The party’s youth league has been leading the debate and is pushing for Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula to replace Gwede Mantashe as ANC secretary general in 2012.

Mashatile said ANC members should be free to discuss the leadership issue in a disciplined way within party structures, so that the debate was not carried out in the media.

“They must start by discussing what kind of organisation we want to build as we get to the second centenary.

“Having done that we can say what kind of leadership we want to consider, to be able to lead the organisation to the future,” he said.

Mashatile also backed the league’s proposal on economic transformation.

Rational debate on ‘economic freedom’
He said the slogan “economic freedom in our lifetime” was something important for the future, but that a rational debate was essential.

On Sunday, he reiterated his support for the fast-tracking of achieving economic freedom “in this phase of the revolution”.

“Those are the things we are going to be seized with as we prepare for Mangaung,” he said.

Mashatile said foreign investors should be happy and emphasised that the economy must benefit the majority of the people.

“They must be happy that we are focusing on the economy. We want more investments in our country but we cannot continue into 18 years of democracy and the economy in South Africa remains in the hands of a select few.

“We must multiracialise the economy. We must ensure that there’s empowerment of previously disadvantaged, women and the youth.”

Asked if he supported the call for nationalisation, Mashatile answered: “I support strong state intervention in all sectors of the economy.”

The ruling party was debating the issue of nationalisation within it’s structures and was undertaking further research, he said.

He said he also wanted the government to fast-track land redistribution, but, like Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, cautioned that it should be done within the constitutional framework. - Sapa

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