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ANC 'overwhelmingly' retains step-aside rule

President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg, during the closing ceremony of the ANC national policy conference.
President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg, during the closing ceremony of the ANC national policy conference.
Image: Alaister Russell/Sunday Times

The ANC’s policy conference has “overwhelmingly” retained the party's controversial step-aside resolution despite efforts by some of its provincial structures to have it scrapped.

This was announced by ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday during his closing address at the conference that started on Friday.

However, Ramaphosa said there was also agreement among the more than 2,000 delegates that took part at the three-day policy indaba that the step-aside rule was not being applied in a fair manner in some instances and this should be addressed.

The step-aside policy, aimed at tackling corruptions and other forms of wrongdoing plaguing the ANC, was facing rejection at the start of the policy of conference on Friday, with provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and some leaders from Gauteng calling for it to be abolished.

They argued that the rule was being used as a factional tool to settle political battles within the ANC.

But after three days of intense discussion on this matter and other policy issues, those seeking to scrap it were defeated, a move that spelt victory for Ramaphosa and his supporters.  

“The overwhelming view of the conference is the retention of the step-aside provisions to enhance the integrity of the movement and its leadership. Conference also noted that there are strong concerns on the perceived lack of consistency in the application and implementation of this policy.

"Conference agreed these must receive urgent attention so that the application of these guidelines is impartial, fair and is consistent,” said Ramaphosa.

Over 200 ANC leaders have been implicated in the state capture report. The party announced that the affected members will be appearing before the ANC integrity commission for their alleged wrongdoing. 

This approach has been endorsed by the policy conference. Ramaphosa said the findings and recommendations of the report form a society-wide effort to tackle corruption in all its forms. 

He said this was testament to the party’s commitment to rid itself of patronage, corruption, factionalism and to renew itself. 

“To renew our organisation is quite an urgent mission ... we must fulfil the promise that we made to our people to place their interests first among all things that we do.”

The proposals adopted at the policy conference will now be debated at branch level for consideration and adoption at the December national conference. 

The ANC has also agreed on the need to empower young people with quality education and skills and to encourage business to hire more young people. The party has also resolved to improve access to decent housing, safe and reliable transport, health care, quality education, electricity, water.

“This means we need to ensure local government is properly resourced, led by honest capable and well qualified and committed people,” the president added. 

Policies focused on economic transformation adopted by the 54th national conference were also reaffirmed.

“The conference noted again the historic anomaly of the ownership of the Reserve Bank, and reaffirmed that the bank must be fully owned by the people of SA. Delegates urged the ANC to restructure the ownership in a manner and at a pace that is taking into account the likely cost implications of the fiscus. 

“Delegates also urged that the process of establishing a state bank should be accelerated. All measures to grow and transform the economy rely on a fiscal policy that ensures that our national debt is contained within sustainable limits and that it is reprioritised from consumption to investment.”

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