South Africa′s ANC proposes land redistribution | Africa | DW | 05.07.2017
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South Africa

South Africa's ANC proposes land redistribution

At the end of the National Policy Conference of South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC), the party proposed that land expropriation without compensation should be allowed where 'necessary and unavoidable'.

After six days of being involved in robust debates on a number of highly controversial issues, ANC delegates adopted a series of proposals that will promote party unity, high leadership values, morals and integrity, tackle the potent issues of state capture and corruption and the socio-economic emancipation of the black majority.

In his closing speech, President Jacob Zuma supported a proposal on land expropriation.

"We agree on the imperative to accelerate land redistribution and land reforms. Where it is necessary and unavoidable, this may include expropriation without compensation within the law, within the constitution," Zuma said

Land will be a key issue ahead of a December ANC national conference where a successor to president Zuma will be chosen. The two current frontrunners are Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, former African Union chair and Zuma's ex-wife.

The ruling ANC also re-affirmed its decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) and promote the freedom and human rights of people in Western Sahara, Kurdistan in Turkey, Palestine and South Africa’s neighbor, Swaziland.

Instead of the ICC, the South African Government decided that it would push for the establishment of an African Human Rights Court to deal with those violating human rights in the African continent.

Deep divisions

When the ANC - one of the oldest liberation movements in Africa - came to power in 1994 under the presidency of freedom icon Nelson Mandela, it promised a better life for all South Africans.

But 23 years later under the presidency of Jacob Zuma, the ANC is fraught with deep divisions, factionalism and the struggle for power among leaders within its ranks.

This has led to loss of confidence among a significant percentage of the people. Factionalism is out in the open at the policy conference, attended by nearly 4,000 delegates.

Audible disunity

On voice recordings smuggled to the media, numerous delegates sing songs in favor of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, while across the room, other delegates shout praise for their preferred candidate, former AU Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

In order to overcome this disunity and promote the regeneration of the party among ordinary South Africans, a proposal has been made for a Revolutionary Electoral Council to interrogate leaders before they are selected for leadership positions.

The ANC has the "power to change" the current factionalism, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula commented on the sidelines of the conference, adding that these challenges have led to the "firm proposals in organizational design."

Corruption, factionalism, vote buying

The very proposal of a revolutionary council is a sign that the ANC faces serious problems under the leadership of Zuma, political analysts argue.

The ANC is on a downward trend, says prominent political analyst Dumisani Hlophe, who says the fact that factions have come to the fore has affected the ANC's power to govern effectively: "The centre in the ANC actually does not hold."

Political analyst Angelo Fick urges the ANC to take into account concerns expressed by ANC struggle veterans, religious organizations, non-government organizations and its alliance partners, including the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party.

The ANC should not reach the point of what "in medical circles or disaster management circles is called Triage, where you are really at the very last stages in saving that which is possible to be saved," Fick warns.

Hungry, unemployed without hope

Ordinary South Africans are meanwhile keeping close tabs on the policy conference, adamant that the ANC come up with solutions to overcome deep poverty, the uncontrollable rise in unemployment and inequality.

The ANC should once again become "the party that people voted for so many years ago," says Mbali Nyando, lamenting that 22 years into democracy, the living conditions of the people, black people in particular, are "deteriorating rather than improving."

Bheki Khumalo told DW that the ANC should focus on unemployment, a "major issue among the black people." People are unemployed, hungry and they have lost hope, he says, appealing to the ANC to work more closely with entrepreneurs.

Dismantling 'white monopoly capital'

The policy conference - which has been the top news item in South Africa for the past six days - made a dramatic turn-around and ditched the term "white monopoly capital" as being the main hindrance to the rapid socio-economic transformation of the black majority.

Most of the delegates appeared to have given President Jacob Zuma and his supporters the thumbs down on this issue. They have recently used the term "white monopoly capital" in what appears to be an attempt to regain lost support among the masses.

"Nine out of those eleven commissions said the phenomenon of monopoly capital is a global one and it manifests itself differently in various parts of the globe and therefore it would not be correct to characterize ours simply as white monopoly capital," said Joel Netshitenze of the ANC's national executive committee.

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