News / Africa

Critical Decisions Coming at ANC Leadership Conference

Souvenir dogtags celebrate the 100th anniversary of South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) party. (File)
Souvenir dogtags celebrate the 100th anniversary of South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) party. (File)
Anita Powell
The main question as South Africa's ruling party prepares to hold an elective conference is: Who will be the next king?  The leader chosen to head the African National Congress at next week's conference is heir apparent to the presidency in 2014.  But there are a host of other important issues to be hashed out that will determine South Africa’s future.

The African National Congress's conference gets going Sunday in the city of Mangaung, also known as Bloemfontein.

Much of the conference is going to be held in closed session, so only an elite group of party leaders will be privy to the really exciting parts.

But the outcomes of those closed-door battles affect the lives of all South Africans, says ANC spokesman Ishmael Mnisi.  He says it’s a once-in-five years opportunity for the ANC to set policy.

“These very same policies are the policies that the ANC will advance in government in order to make the lives of all South Africans, Africans and the world better, in terms of our own contribution and the ANC,” said Mnisi.

But we will at least know the outcome of the main event: a heavyweight bout between President Jacob Zuma and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe for the ANC’s top job.

Motlanthe finally accepted the nomination on Thursday after weeks of public indecision.

In doing so, he may have put himself in an all-or-nothing position: while the powerful Gauteng provincial ANC and the ANC Youth League want him as president, others, including the ANC veterans’ league, have eliminated him from their entire slate. He may end up having to fight to keep his current job.  

It would be a more interesting contest if anyone knew what exactly the quiet, professorial Motlanthe stood for or how he intends to govern differently.  But his reticence to stump for the job has turned it into a contest between Mr. Zuma and a man-who-is-not-Mr.-Zuma.

Political analyst Adam Habib suspects Zuma will win by knockout over the professorial Motlanthe.

“I don’t think that that’s even in contestation," said Habib. "I think that Jacob Zuma has got such an overriding majority.  I think he’s got this in the bag.”

Youth League spokeswoman Khusela Sangoni-Khawe says the party has other priorities: namely, the youth league’s proposals for a bolder program of land redistribution and nationalization of some mining operations.

“This is the one chance that the ANC has, before the next election period, to actually take radical policies that will accelerate the pace of change in South Africa," she said. "So it’s critical, because our people are getting impatient and it’s time for the ANC to change gear and really deliver on the promise of economic emancipation.”

Whatever happens, the proceedings will all take place under the shadow of former South African president Nelson Mandela, who set an impossibly high bar for ANC leadership.  His one-term administration is regarded as the gold standard.

Even though he retired from public life in 2004 and was in the hospital this week for a lung infection, he still towers over the proceedings: Literally.  This week, Zuma unveiled a statue of the anti-apartheid icon in Bloemfontein.

You May Like

Conflicts Engulf Christians in the Middle East

Research finds an increase in faith-based hostilities, and Christians are facing persecution in a growing number of countries in the region More

Iran Bolsters Surveillance of Phones, Internet

Does increased monitoring suggest the government is nervous? More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid