FRIDAY BRIEFING | Packing up: The ANC circus is almost done


Packing up: The ANC circus is almost done

When writing about a news event, there’s a golden rule (one of many in journalism) that you should never tell the reader that your story doesn’t matter, or is boring, because then no one will read it.

Now, attending last weekend’s ANC policy conference at Nasrec, I battled getting around this, because not only was it boring, but I’m also still uncertain about what exactly it meant.

One thing was for sure: it was the most subdued, colourless and inconsequential ANC conference I’ve ever attended – and my first was the mid-term national general council in 2005, in Pretoria, when Jacob Zuma launched his political comeback after being fired.

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It is common cause the party is at its weakest ever – every objective metric confirms it.

But it is still insightful to see how the party navigates its sure and steady decline.

Policy discussions were seemingly of a very poor quality, if reporting on policy debates and subsequent feedback sessions to the media is anything to go by, with stale debates about issues, such nationalisation and expropriation, as well as the SA Reserve Bank again being a staple of ANC thought.

There was no verve, no zip and no creativity – and, above all, no bold plan or political courage to really take the country forward.

In this week’s Friday Briefing, our political editor, Qaanitah Hunter, and political reporter Juniour Khumalo – as well as myself – run the rule over what could possibly be the ANC’s last policy conference as the governing party.

Gasp! Now there’s a thought!

Pieter du Toit

Assistant editor of in-depth and investigations.

ANC policy conference: I wouldn’t celebrate too loudly if I was Ramaphosa

The ANC’s policy conference may be seen as a ‘win’ for Cyril Ramaphosa, but maybe his opponents didn’t care enough to fight him – for now, writes Qaanitah Hunter.

Policy conference affirms ANC is all about power – with no idea what to do with it

The ANC policy conference last week was surely one of the worst and most ineffectual party gatherings in recent years. There is no creativity, dynamism or courage left in the party, writes Pieter du Toit.

No room for citizens: The ANC’s navel-gazing policy conference

Instead of centring its engagements around the country’s citizenry and addressing the immediate challenges facing South Africa, opposing factions within the ANC mainly utilised the platform to test how much support they had through proxy topics, writes Juniour Khumalo.

Carlos Amato cartoon