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ANC statement on SA Institute of Race Relations and the opposition

25 June 2009

Those opposed to the democratic and consultative culture of the African National Congress (ANC) and its Alliance partners – the SACP, COSATU and SANCO - have sought to stop at nothing in their concerted campaign to drive a wedge between the organisation and its Alliance partners. They have also sought to portray ANC President Jacob Zuma - who is also President of the Republic - as someone who is being "managed".

The latest salvo fired by the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) in a paper published in the SAIRR website titled "why the ANC can drop its alliance partners," further illustrates a desperate trend in the thinking of those opposed to cohesion of the ANC-SACP-COSATU-SANCO Alliance.

It also comes in the wake of negative and distorted commentary in some sections of the media bent on undermining the President. These prophets of doom describe the President as being "managed" when seeking counsel from one of his Cabinet ministers. Cabinet ministers are appointed to execute the mandate of the ruling party under the stewardship of the President of the country. In line with ANC tradition, there is nothing sinister in the President adopting an inclusive and consultative approach to issues. After yesterday’s (24 June 2009) President’s Budget speech in the National Assembly, the opposition tried so hard to confuse the public by saying that ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe was "not the President", calling on President Zuma to "reign in the ANC`s tripartite alliance partners` insatiable appetite for power".

In terms of his position as ANC Secretary General, Mantashe is required by the ANC Constitution to ensure that the organisation’s policies are implemented. This includes ensuring that the ANC 2009 Manifesto is adhered to and that policies of the ruling party find resonance in the articulation and implementation by the Government. This is normal in any democracy.

In calling the ANC to "dump" the COSATU and the SACP as Alliance partners, the SAIRR – in its latest report – needs to be reminded that the Alliance is not merely based on power opportunism but that it is historical, strategic and representative of the aspirations of the majority of South Africans. No amount of intended negative propaganda by the SAIRR and the opposition will succeed in destabilising the Alliance.

In his closing remarks at the 52nd ANC National Conference, President Zuma eloquently described the Alliance as being based on mutual trust and respect, saying it should be defended and protected by all ANC members. Building, nurturing and defending the Alliance is an ANC mandate.

The 52nd ANC Conference was clear in its resolution confirming the Policy Conference assertion that the right of individual Alliance partners to discuss and arrive at own decisions and pursuing own strategic objectives should be respected. Conference – consistent with this principle – also resolved that the ANC would continue to determine - in its own structures and processes - how best to advance its own strategic objectives.

The leadership role of the ANC – in terms of the 52nd Conference resolution – places on it the primary responsibility to unite the Alliance and all democratic forces.

Issued by:
Jessie Duarte
National Spokesperson

Brian Sokutu 071 671 6899