The African National Congress (ANC) consultative conference has been moved to November, the governing party’s stalwarts and veterans said on Thursday.
The elders’ consultative conference, which they believe is a way forward in resolving the ruling party’s internal battles, was postponed several times previously.
Last week, the group announced October 20-22 as the date for the conference. “After careful consideration, it has been decided to defer the start date until 17th November 2017. This will allow more time for the ongoing and critical discussions on the national consultative conference, including the dialogue with the leadership of the ANC,” the group of stalwarts said in a statement.
The ANC elective conference is set to be held in Johannesburg in December, where President Jacob Zuma’s replacement will be elected ahead of the country’s general elections in 2019.
The group of veterans include respected anti-apartheid struggle figures such as Andrew Mlangeni, Gertrude Shope, Denis Goldberg, Mavuso Msimang, Sheila Sisulu and Ben Turok. They authored a document titled “For the Sake of Our Future” in which they decried the deteriorating political and economic situation in the country, rampant corruption, “the inability of the ANC to act against corruption, nepotism, factionalism, arrogance and election slates in the ANC and its alliance partners”.
The group boycotted a two-day consultative conference that took place on the eve of the ANC’s policy conference in July, demanding a fully-fledged separate conference that included ANC branches. There was a “groundswell” of support for a national consultative conference, they said.
“The crisis is now at a tipping point, not only within the ANC, but within the country. We are sitting on a powder keg that is waiting to explode because of the high levels of alienation of our communities from the institutions of governance.
“The consultative conference will potentially play an important part in helping restore the legitimacy of the ANC, which was clearly seen in the support of our citizens during the struggle against apartheid, the introduction of our constitutional democracy and the first democratic elections.”