No date yet for crucial ANC indaba

A senior NEC member had told political journalists before local government elections earlier this year that the conference would take place in December to discuss, among other things, the status of provinces. However, last weekend’s NEC meeting could not decide when to call for a crucial conference following a national general council (NGC) that exposed animosity among the rank and file towards President Thabo Mbeki’s leadership style. This was shortly after he fired his deputy, Jacob Zuma, when he was implicated in the corruption trial of his financial adviser Schabir Shaik. However, with the level of anger ‘ expressed by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), its affiliates and the South African Communist Party ‘ at the direction of the ANC under Mbeki, a possible postponement of the policy conference to next year is seen as a tactic to cool temperatures. “It will be another NGC if it is held this year,” said a Cosatu leader on Saturday. But member of the NEC who attended the weekend meeting there was nothing sinister about a possible postponement as suchf conferences are often held in winter. “We are still going to take a decision about the date of the policy conference,” said the NEC member. Earlier this month that there was a strong lobby in Cosatu, the South African Communist Party and the pro-Zuma camp in the ANC to hijack the policy conference and compel it to discuss the discontent inside the ruling party. This was shortly after Zuma was acquitted of rape, a verdict which was interpreted as proof of a plot to oust him from the political scene. If the conference is indeed postponed, it would be an attitude barometer for the ultimate elective conference, also scheduled for next year. Meanwhile, the implications of the Zuma rape trial were again under discussion at the weekend. Provincial and Local Government Minister Sydney Mufamadi last week reiterated his Cabinet colleague Arts and Culture Minister Pallo Jordan’s earlier concerns about possible damage to the image of the organisation. But some NEC members reminded the meeting about Zuma’s acquittal and his apology. Zuma had earlier requested to be recused to give NEC members an opportunity to vent their feelings and debate without being hindered by his presence. ‘ Pretoria News.

June 2006
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