ANC ‘step aside’ policy in the spotlight ahead of Policy Conference

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Analysts are predicting that the African National Congress’ (ANC) ‘step aside’ resolution is going to occupy centre stage ahead of the party’s 6th Policy Conference this weekend in Nasrec, Johannesburg.

Over 6 000 delegates from the ANC are expected to attend the Conference.

The conference is a prelude to the ruling party’s 55th National Elective Conference, which will take place in December.

A 188-page policy document has been distributed to members through their Regions and Branches for consideration.

The ANC decided at the 2017 Nasrec policy conference that members charged with corruption must voluntarily step aside, while those alleged, reported, or accused of corruption must appear before the integrity committee.

The party has been back and forth on the “step aside” resolution since it emerged from the 54th National Elective Conference in 2017.

The ANC’s Treasurer-General, Paul Mashatile says this is a path to renewal of the party. Some prominent ANC leaders have had to vacate their positions to allow for investigations. These include among others, Ace Magashule, Zandile Gumende and former eThekwini Mayor, Linda Mnisi.

KwaZulu-Natal ANC leaders want a special national conference to scrap the step aside decision. They appear to want the party’s elective conference to take place before the election of a new president in December.

Political analyst Lukhona Mnguni speaks to SAfm’s Stephen Grootes:

‘Litmus test’

According to political analyst Professor Pieter Duvenage, the ANC’s policy conference would be a litmus test for the party’s maturity in putting the needs of the country ahead of factionalism and political preference.

Duvenage says the party should use this policy conference to focus on key issues and policies instead of using it as a battleground to flex political power.

“What you have is two ideological blocks. The one just wants to go back to a sort of hardline socialism and the other, that’s President Ramaphosa’s group is more the realists that in many ways want to talk about a kind of socialism but also realises that South Africa needs privatisation, to think of Eskom. South Africa needs a free market approach. And I can’t see them meeting one another at this policy conference. I think at the moment the power balance is with president Ramaphosa and his group.”

VIDEO: Step-aside resolution expected to take centre stage at ANC policy conference