POLITICAL WEEK AHEAD: Barack Obama’s lecture is the highlight of a big week
A busy political week will start with the Nelson Mandela Lecture by former US president Barack Obama on Tuesday. It will conclude with another attempt by the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal to hold its provincial elective conference.
Obama is set to address the 34,000-capacity Wanderers Stadium in Illovo, Johannesburg on Tuesday afternoon. It has been billed as his most important speech since leaving office in 2017.
The star-studded event — which will be attended by President Cyril Ramaphosa — is expected to be packed and is set to be followed by a high profile dinner hosted by the foundation, set to be attended by Obama and Ramaphosa.
On Tuesday Parliament’s Joint Constitutional Review committee will continue its public hearings, this time in the North West, into the possible review of Section 25 of the Constitution to expropriate land without compensation.
On Wednesday a second delegation will begin hearings in KwaZulu-Natal, which are set to be explosive given King Goodwill Zwelithini’s warning that he would shift the province out of SA should the government’s plans affect the Ingonyama Trust, which administers traditional land in the province. Zwelithini has also complained of the treatment the board of the trust has received from parliamentarians in the past.
This week, the trust will have the opportunity to make presentations on its position on land to the review committee.
The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal is also set to weigh in at the hearings after holding a land summit last week.
The hearings will take place in Vryheid on Wednesday, Jozini on Thursday and Pietermaritzburg on Friday.
The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal will make another attempt to hold its provincial conference from Thursday to Saturday.
The last attempt in June was thwarted by an 11th-hour court interdict from structures that complained of irregularities in the run-up to the gathering. ANC chairman Gwede Mantashe was booed at a meeting that was meant to be the conference but could not elect leaders due to the interdict.
On Friday the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal said the provincial task team decided last week to reconvene.
The factions in the province, which have been battling it out in court for the past two years, had decided on an "out of court settlement", which would pave the way for the conference to take place this week.
This implies there may be a compromise on the cards between the two groups.
However, Business Day understands that Sihle Zikalala, the former provincial chairman and a staunch supporter of former president Jacob Zuma, is likely to return to the helm of the party’s largest province.
On Monday Gauteng ANC acting chairman David Makhura will address a media briefing on plans for the province’s elective conference at the weekend. Makhura is likely to replace long-standing chairman Paul Mashatile, after the latter was elected national treasurer at the ANC conference in December.
The battle over the post of deputy chairperson is between Gauteng economic development MEC Lebogang Maile and former Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau.
The elective gathering starts on Friday and concludes on Sunday next week.
It is also a critical week for the DA, particularly in Gauteng. It will begin interviews on Friday for the coveted post of Gauteng premier candidate.
The race is one that clearly displays the ideological divide in the party.
The ANC elective conference as well as the DA’s premier candidate selection process are critical events that will shape the parties’ election fortunes in the 2019 national polls.