A deep ideological divide between factions in the ANC are made glaringly obvious in their latest policy discussion documents.
According to an analysis by Frans Cronje, CEO of the Institute of Race Relations (IRR), of the nine discussion documents released by the party ahead of its policy conference this year, the documents are riddled with policy contradictions.
“The flashes of common sense are heartening,” Cronje sarcastically declared in his report, “but these are fatally compromised by the contradictions that continue to run through ANC policy thinking.”
The “flashes of common sense” he refers to include the party’s observation that growth-enhancing elements such as reduced red-tape and boosting confidence for investors will create rapid economic growth.
These, according to Cronje, could have been pulled “virtually verbatim, out of any one of a number of IRR policy papers”.
Cronje’s analysis delved further into several paradoxically placed sentiments in the party’s documents. “The ANC writes that it desires much higher levels of private sector investment, but it also wants the state to play a dominant role in the economy. It writes about the importance of policy certainty, even as policy across a range of industries becomes more uncertain.
“It writes of internal renewal, even as scandals of corruption and government inefficiency become a mainstay of media reporting. It writes about removing obstacles to investment, but also of the need to impose racial dictates on the private sector,” he said.
ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize, speaking at a recent event, said the party was concerned about the sluggish growth of the economy.
Some policy changes suggested in the documents, such as increased powers for the presidency, increased state control in the private sector and some aspects of what the party refers to as “radical economic transformation”, have been heavily criticised by business leaders and analysts.