2017-01-17 19:04

ANC leadership. (Leon Sadiki, file)

ANC leadership. (Leon Sadiki, file)

Johannesburg – A group of African National Congress stalwarts wants the party’s top six to again take their request for a separate consultative conference to its national executive committee.

The stalwarts are adamant it should be separated from party’s policy conference, to be held in June.

On Monday, five of the party’s top six officials met some of the older members at ANC headquarters, Luthuli House, to further discuss the consultative conference.

ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa was absent from the meeting, as he was travelling to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

One of the stalwarts, Murphy Morobe, said the more than 100 veterans would wait for the ANC to present their suggestion to the NEC.

The stalwarts and the ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe described the meeting as progressive.

“We have moved past the point of disagreeing on principles, more talking about the logistics and what is right, that will give us maximum benefit,” Mantashe told reporters on Tuesday.

‘Finding each other’

In 2016, the ANC’s executive agreed to the elders’ request to discuss the state of the party and its future at a consultative conference. They, however, insisted it must be combined with the policy conference.

The NEC decided to set aside the first two days of the policy conference, to be held in Gauteng in June, to do so.

A task team of ANC officials and stalwarts had been established to focus on the content, structure, and representation of the conference.

Mantashe explained that, for matters raised at the consultative conference to be discussed at the ANC’s 54th elective conference in December, they first had to be thrashed out at the policy conference.

“If it doesn’t go through the policy conference, it will not see the sun in the national conference. We are finding each other,” Mantashe said.

‘Current leadership must step down’

One of the stalwarts, who spoke to News24 on condition of anonymity, said the veterans, though hopeful, were waging a difficult battle, which they were unlikely to win.

“The outcome we are looking for is that this current leadership must step down and an interim structure must see the ANC through the policy conference and an elective conference,” the insider said.

The stalwart said they believed that ANC leaders did not want a gap between the two conferences because they wanted the current leadership to continue at the helm of the party.

Mantashe said organisational renewal was an ongoing issue.

“The process of consultation that goes on now, must go on after the policy conference and after the conference in December,” Mantashe said.