Trade and industry: No changes to policy

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies. (Reuters)

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies. (Reuters)

Responding to questions at business breakfast organised by the ANC's Progressive Business Forum on Sunday on the sidelines of the party's electoral conference in Mangaung, Davies said the country could simply not compete with the "sweatshops of the world".

"If you're talking about lower wages and relaxed labour laws, South Africa simply can't do that," he said.

Davies argued South Africa's organised labour movement would also prevent such a move from happening.

"As we have seen in the past year, that is the reality of Marikana, that is the De Doorns of this world. We simply don't want to head in that direction," he added.

Debate over direction
Over 4 000 delegates from branches around the country have converged on Bloemfontein to debate the policy direction the ANC will pursue over the next five years, as well as elect new leadership for the ruling party.

In the mid-morning delegates began queuing to enter the conference marquee ahead of the ANC's political report that will be delivered by president Jacob Zuma.

Zuma will square up against his deputy Kgalema Motlanthe for the presidency of the ANC.

Opposing factions were quick to show their support for their chosen candidate for ANC president. Supporters of the incumbent danced and sang his name while thrusting a two finger peace sign, indicating a second term for Zuma.

Motlanthe's supporters also danced and sang, but rolled their index fingers over one another—the sign for substitution in football—as sign of their wish for a change in leadership.

Due to get under way at 9am, Zuma's address is running late and is due to now start at around midday.

Nickolaus Bauer

Nickolaus Bauer

Nickolaus Bauer is the Mail & Guardian's jack of all trades news reporter that chases down stories ranging from politics and sports to big business and social justice. Armed with an iPad, SLR camera, camcorder and dictaphone, he aims to fight ignorance and pessimism through written words, photographs and videos. He believes South Africa could be the greatest country in the world if only her citizens would give her a chance to flourish instead of dwell on the negativity. When he's not begging his sub-editors for an extra twenty minutes after deadline, he's also known to dabble in the occasional poignant column that will leave you mulling around in the depths of your psyche. The quintessential workaholic, you can also catch him doing sports on the weekday breakfast show on SAfm and presenting the SAfm Sports Special over the weekend. Read more from Nickolaus Bauer

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