The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) on Thursday said the just ended African National Congress (ANC) Policy Conference “failed abysmally to resolve, or even seriously debate, the major issues” facing the country.
In a scathing statement, Saftu said the policy conference “confirmed beyond any doubt” the union federation’s view “that this once mighty liberation movement has degenerated into a politically bankrupt, faction-ridden shambles”.
The five-day policy conference, held at Nasrec, south of Johannesburg, ended on Wednesday.
“The conference failed abysmally to resolve, or even seriously debate, the major issues facing South Africa, but was a battleground of warring factions, neither of which had any solutions to our economic and social crisis, but were only concerned with strengthening their power within the ANC and the country,” said the statement issued by Patrick Craven, Saftu acting spokesperson.
“In one corner of the ring was the faction led by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, supporting the mainstream, neoliberal pro-capitalist policies like GEAR [Growth, Employment and Redistribution] and the NDP [National Development Plan] policies which are the underlying cause of our crisis of high unemployment, deepening poverty and widening inequality.
“In the other corner was the faction of corrupt crony capitalists led by President Zuma and the Gupta family who shamelessly shout about ‘radical’ policies which they have done nothing to implement over the last 23 years. They simply use these demagogic cries to try to silence their opponents and deflect attention from the corruption and crimes in which they are implicated.”
Saftu said the worst outcome of the policy conference was the abject failure of either of the factions to offer any solution to South Africa’s underlying economic and social catastrophe, “explain or even discuss why its government has failed to implement policy priorities of the ANC’s last election manifesto”.
The priorities included economy, jobs, land reform, rural development, food security, human settlements, basic services, education and training, health and fighting crime, including corruption.
“The reality is that in every one of these areas, there has been negligible progress; in some cases things are even worse than before and the ANC leadership as a whole have to be held to account,” Saftu said.
“Fighting corruption and crime has been the most outrageous failure … with the #GuptaLeaks exposing an ever-widening network of looters, led by ANC leaders who have been plundering state-owned enterprises and government contracts for their self-enrichment.