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'Unique opportunity' for economic agreement between ANC slates - Niehaus

Dec 19 2017 16:15
Tehillah Niselow

Johannesburg - As delegates gear up for policy discussions on day four of the ANC national conference uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans' Association (MKMVA) spokesperson Carl Niehaus said the party's Top 6 leadership would unite the various ideologies in the party.

Niehaus, a firm supporter of the losing candidate for the party's leadership Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, on Monday said the ‘radical economic transformation’ slogan that anchored her campaign would remain ANC policy.

He noted the slogan had been adopted by the ANC's Mangaung conference of 2012.

A slightly different version of the slogan was also on display at the conference at Nasrec. "Towards unity, renewal and radical socio-economic transformation," proclaimed a large banner on the plenary stage. 

“There’s a unique opportunity here for the Top 6 to thrash out these particular issues and to come up with practical proposals and practical solutions”, said Niehaus after the vote. 

Cyril Ramaphosa clinched the top job on Monday evening in a tightly-fought race, with David Mabuza as deputy president.

Ace Magashule is the party's secretary general. Jessie Duarte won the deputy secretary general post, Gwede Mantashe took the national chairperson position and Paul Mashatile was elected treasurer general.

Magashule, Duarte and Mabuza are seen as close to Dlamini-Zuma and her ex-husband President Jacob Zuma. Financial analysts have noted that the divided Top 6 may make it difficult for Ramaphosa to implement his economic policies.

Gerrit van Rooyen, an economist at NKC African Economics, said there is uncertainty over how positive this victory has really been.

"[Ramaphosa] takes over a profoundly divided party and makes up a Top 6 that will be at odds with each other," said Phillip Pearce, a dealer at TreasuryOne in an investment note on Tuesday morning. 

Implement RET 

Niehaus said the economic transformation committee will on Tuesday discuss some of the policy resolutions adopted by the policy conference in June/July, including land expropriation without compensation and the nationalisation of the Reserve Bank.

“We have to work hard to come up with practical proposals how to implement RET and then all of us, under the leadership of president comrade Cyril Ramaphosa will have to work together to make this a success because it’s essential for the ANC to make it a success”, he said.

The 54th national conference will need to ratify the policy decisions before they become official ANC policies, however. 

Despite Niehaus's strong backing of Dlamini-Zuma, he pledged to full support Ramaphosa.

“This is an interesting combination of supporters from the side of comrade Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and comrade Cyril. The delegates have given us a nice practical lesson in unity and we empowered the branches, through the delegates to make this decision we are happy that it was indeed a democratic process, there was no arranged leadership here,” he said. 

While Niehaus was not an official campaign manager for the Dlamini-Zuma campaign, he was present as many of her campaign activities. He also provided commentary for the ANN7 news channel.

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