Natasha Marrian Political editor: Business Day
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said on Tuesday that the current debate of radical economic transformation versus inclusive growth was pushed by people wanting to “drive wedges” among the leaders of the ANC.

“Nobody in the ANC questions the need for radical economic transformation … everyone in the ANC accepts that the need for radical economic transformation is urgent to deal with the question of an economy that is not inclusive.”

He said radical economic transformation had to “translate into inclusive growth”. He did not understand the “distinction” between the two.

No one in the ANC disagrees that radical economic transformation should be a priority, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Tuesday.

Radical economic transformation has become the rallying cry of President Jacob Zuma’s presidential pick, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s campaign. Yet on Monday, Mantashe was adamant that it has long been ANC policy and there is agreement on the need for it within the party.

His comments show that the policy for radical economic transformation is not the preserve of a faction — although there are differences on what it means practically.

He was addressing the media after a special national executive committee (NEC) meeting held over the weekend in which the Zuma faction were defeated in their bid to have the Eastern Cape provincial conference dissolved. Even one perceived as part of that faction, Mpumalanga chairman David Mabuza, spoke out against the dissolution of the province.

Mantashe also hit out at the "desperate" faction that circulated rumours he was going to be suspended at the NEC meeting. "They will not be given the space to mess up the ANC for factional reasons, they will never," he said.

His comments also follow the release by ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa of his own economic manifesto for the country on Monday, in which he delivered a 10-point plan that included increasing GDP growth by 3% in 2018.

Mantashe said the current debate over radical economic transformation versus inclusive growth was pushed by people wanting to "drive wedges" among the leaders of the ANC. "Nobody in the ANC questions the need for radical economic transformation … everyone in the ANC accepts that the need for radical economic transformation is urgent to deal with the question of an economy that is not inclusive."

He said radical economic transformation must "translate into inclusive growth", adding that he did not understand the "distinction" made between the two.

Meanwhile, the deadline for ANC branches to conclude nominations for its next president is looming, but only 40% of the branches in its largest province, KwaZulu-Natal, has concluded the process. Mantashe said a "special dispensation" may be required to allow KwaZulu-Natal to conclude the nomination process. The province is largely the base of support for Dlamini-Zuma.

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