Cosatu: ANC document contradictory

2012-06-24 15:20

Johannesburg - An ANC discussion document outlining its "second transition" is filled with contradictions and misconceptions, the Congress of SA Trade Unions said on Sunday.

"The second transition document fails to locate itself within... (the country's) developments. It exhibits ideological contradictions and misconceptions throughout," Cosatu said.

It was commenting in a paper drawn up in response to the document, which will be discussed at the African National Congress policy conference in Midrand this week.

Cosatu said the ANC's other discussion documents did not reflect the "notion" of a second transition.

"The 'second transition' therefore remains an isolated notional idea; it is not elaborated into a concept that defines the parameters and content of the change that it purports to undertake."

It said the document was "littered with denialism" about the damage neo-liberalism had caused to the country since its emancipation from apartheid and colonialism.

"It is incorrect for the document to suggest that the last 18 years was focusing on democratisation and that our focus must now be on social and economic transformation, as if there exists a Chinese Wall that separates politics from economics and social development," Cosatu said.

"There are more examples where the document veers off a tangent and avoids confronting the monster that is colonialism of a special type, at the heart of which is monopoly capitalism in general, white monopoly capitalism in particular."

According to the ANC's document, in the past 18 years the party had gone through a first transition into democracy, where it focused on political emancipation.

Now it needed to introduce a "second transition" which focused on the social and economic transformation of South Africa in the next 30 to 50 years.

The paper suggested that during the negotiations to establish democracy in 1994, the ANC had to make compromises in thec onstitution to keep the peace.

Cosatu said that the ANC, by constantly trying to balance issues, was being reduced to being a party that always took the "middle-of-the-road" position.

"The effect of this... render(s) the ANC non-revolutionary."

Cosatu said the ANC's document had "effectively ditched" the Freedom Charter.

"Nowhere does the document make even the slightest reference to this historic and ever relevant programme.... Instead, the second transition document positions the neo-liberal National Development Plan as the 'new Freedom Charter'," it said.

Cosatu warned that if the document is not reconstructed as a genuine, not revisionist elaboration of the Freedom Charter, it would be ignored by the masses.

Cosatu said it would call for a reassertion of the Freedom Charter, and push for the nationalisation of the mines, banks and other "monopoly" industries.

It would also suggest that foreign ownership of South African companies be limited.

"We therefore propose that a separate strategy and tactics document be developed to correspond to the tasks that constitute the content of the second transition."

ANC president Jacob Zuma has promoted the idea of a "second transition", but it has been rejected by the ANC Youth League and the SA Students' Congress, and the ANC in Gauteng and Limpopo.

ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe has also reportedly questioned the idea.

"Second transition! Second transition! Second transition! From what, from where to, where? What constituted the first transition?

"What were the tasks of that phase? Have all those tasks been accomplished or not?" Business Day quoted him as saying on June 14.

According to the report, Motlanthe told a dinner in honour of the late intellectual Harold Wolpe that the policy document was packed with "smatterings of Marxist jargon".

The ANC will meet in Midrand for four days starting on Tuesday to discuss 13 policy documents ahead of its national conference in December.

The policy decisions made at the policy conference will then be discussed and finalised at the national conference in Mangaung, Free State, in December.

These policies will form the basis for the ANC government's policies, new laws or amended laws.