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ANC policy conference: Rebellion against Ramaphosa neutralised

An effort to mount a rebellion against President Cyril Ramaphosa at the ANC policy conference has been neutralised. 

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal appears to have conceded that their primary fight will occur at the December elective conference. A planned protest against Ramaphosa led by Carl Niehaus did not attract any support. 

This is just a consultative conference. We will be back in December with our numbers where we can win by a vote.

This was the sentiment of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, who were expected to lead any rebellion during the ANC’s policy conference, but who failed to achieve substantive political wins on which opposition to President Cyril Ramaphosa was expected to ride on. 

The main fight of the conference, repealing the ANC’s step-aside policy, appeared to be moot by Sunday. 

A bid to attack Pravin Gordhan and Eskom management on the failures of the power utility too was not fully entertained. 

And efforts to build opposition on the conference floor were shut down by ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe and were not widely supported. While the newly elected ANC leaders in KwaZulu-Natal remained militant publicly, in the closed commissions, it appeared their lobby was neutralised.

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal had the largest delegation to the conference, followed by Limpopo, where they found allies in some of their fights. 

But soon, it became manifest that the muted conference was not conducive for a full-blown political rebellion to be launched. 

“This conference is not a conference of branches. In December, we will come with branch delegates, and only that conference can decide and vote,” ANC KwaZulu-Natal secretary Bheki Mtolo, who is fashioned as the spokesperson for the anti-Ramaphosa lobby, told News24. 

ANC KZN secretary Bheki Mtolo defended the call for “step-aside” to be scrapped. He spoke to News24’s Qaanitah Hunter on the sidelines of the party’s 6th National policy conference at Nasrec. He asked Hunter if she will apologise if Zandile Gumede is found not guilty on charges of corruption.

Meanwhile, a push to protest against Ramaphosa led by fired ANC staffer Carl Niehaus failed to gain support. 

Niehaus stood by his lonesome outside of the Nasrec conference venue with a sign bearing the ANC logo and the words “Ramaphosa must go”. 

ANC sources said that it became clear that delegates would not tolerate political sideshow debates.

As a result, they clung to a fight for the ANC to implement existing controversial policies, which have been long proved unworkable. 

Former ANC staffer Carl Niehaus is putting on a on

Former ANC staffer Carl Niehaus put on a one man protest outside of the ANC policy conference on 31 July 2022.

News24Qaanitah Hunter

Delegates from KwaZulu-Natal, supported by delegates who formed part of the anti-Ramaphosa lobby, pushed hard on why the ANC government did not implement the state bank. 

They, too, asked why a state pharmaceutical company was not formed despite resolving that it would be more than ten years ago. 

There was a fiery debate on the land question, where delegates chastised the ANC leadership for watering its resolution on amending Section 25 of the Constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation. 

“If we did not water down our resolutions, we would have had support from the EFF in Parliament,” Mtolo said.

A revived bid to put the mandate of the South African Reserve Bank in question also unfolded during commissions. 

During report-back sessions to the media, party leaders described policy proposals discussed, which ranged from the ANC setting up its internal corruption fighting institution, to chemical castration for rapists. 

The final decisions of the policy conference will be adopted on Sunday and followed by a closing address by Ramaphosa.




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