By: Lance Mosiea
The 52ndANC National Conference brought in a much expectant power shift as delegates that had descended upon Mangaung, excitedly elected an 80-member strong National Executive Committee (NEC) over the course of 5 days in the year that the political party was celebrating 100 years of existence. The main focus of the conference was undoubtedly however, that of the election of a new top six NEC, particularly the election that would determine who would become party president between the restrained and often subtle deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe and vocally defiant president, Jacob Zuma. The fierce contest between the two pillars of the oldest and most powerful political party in Africa had finally reached boiling point and only one man would walk on victorious. Kgalema’s aloof stance on the nomination of presidency failed to power down the head-strong support Jacob Zuma had received in provincial strongholds such as KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. The incumbent president of the ruling party, Jacob Zuma, comprehensively beat Kgalema Motlanthe who had defiantly rejected his nomination to be elected into the NEC of the party.
The optimistic atmosphere hovering over the huge marquee hosting the conference, was fervently felt amongst Zuma supporters as they triumphantly chanted & lorded his name – already firm in the belief that he was to retain his second term as the party’s leader. The defying moment came in when Gwen Nupen who acted on behalf of the Electoral Commission, announced Motlanthe had won under a thousand votes and the deafening celebration resounded as to how many votes Zuma had won.
The fanfare was shared partially for the new deputy president of the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa – former trade unionist turned mining tycoon and one of South Africa’s richest men; Re-elected secretary-general Gwede Mantashe was honourably sang for as he ascended to the podium to retain his rightful seat; Chairperson Baleka Mbete won by quite a noticeable margin against fellow female contender Thandi Modise; the Deputy secretary-general stood uncontested and thus Jessie Duarte took her position and lastly Zweli Mkhize won by a landslide 2988 votes against Paul Mashatile who managed to bag in 961 votes.
In a press conference following the appointment of the new NEC, re-elected president Jacob Zuma called for a “united ANC” – one that would see the end of factionalism in the party. Factionalism which has gone as far as setting lose corruptive and fraudulent traits in the party and has thus embarrassingly marred the name and image of the party that has been compressed with immense pressure to show forth a clean and organised face – one that will regain the trust and votes of many South Africans and most importantly that of the youth of the country.
Interestingly so, the topic of the youth and particularly the aspect of their employment has been under much scrutiny within the ANC by opposition parties and the concerned public who wish to know if the economic policies that the ANC has decided on are in any sort, to the advantage of the youth. With no mention of official statistics but only clear and concise knowledge, the majority of the youth of the country are facing unemployment even after attaining their qualifications from higher tertiary institutions and the likes. It’s a crisis, which continues to cripple the economy and create an even bigger divide in the sphere of the young people of this country being notable contributing members of economy at large. The youth wage subsidy is still being debated in the national assembly to no avail.
As a anew dawn shadows over the ANC, to the people of South Africa it is just the same old political play of lording the corrupt to rule and reign over the people of the country. Fair enough, this is a personal statement that does not speak for those that have hope that perhaps change within the ANC has come. The change though it seems, is for the worst.