Manuel: Mangaung needs to focus on policy

Trevor Manuel says there’s been mixed reactions to his decision not to run for re-election.

Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel pictured in Johannesburg on 17 November 2009. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

MANGAUNG - Too little time is being spent on policy at the ANC's Mangaung conference, and too much on individuals and leadership, Planning Minister Trevor Manuel said on Tuesday.

The minister is behind the National Development Plan (NDP), which featured prominently in President Jacob Zuma's political address to the conference.

The plan aims to eliminate inequality and poverty in the country by 2030.

Manuel, who is the architect of the NDP, lamented the fact that too much time was spent on leadership at the ANC's 53rd national conference.

"I think that part of the tragedy that happens here is we focus on individuals and slates, and not what needs to be done."

He also said there had been mixed reactions to his decision not to run for re-election to the ANC's national executive committee (NEC).

"In some areas people are saying 'well done, it's a bold decision, it's kind of a choice, not fate.'

"Because if you remain committed to the organisation, committed to mentoring them, it's going to be good.

"There are other people who are angry and saying 'but you haven't first prepared people'".

Delegates are expected to start arriving again at the University of the Free State to start commissions on policy. It is not yet clear whether they will make it to the main plenary venue or take some time to sleep.

VOTING POLLS CLOSE

Red-eyed and exhausted, the last of the voting delegates left the venue with blue-black ink stains on their fingers.

They spent several hours in the queue, but were happy to have had the chance to cast their ballots.

This Jacob Zuma supporter is in support of a second term. "Zuma is a good man. Zuma is moving around rural areas, speaking to the people."

While this pro-change lobbyist hopes his vote will make a difference: "We want change. We are sick and tired of defending the scandals of Nkandla and children outside wedlock. All of these scandals."

Election officials are now busy with tallying the results.

ANC national spokesman Jackon Mthembu says election results of the top five NEC leaders are expected at around 1pm this afternoon.

DEPUTY TODAY, PRESIDENT TOMORROW

Today could mark a stunning return to front-line politics for businessman Cyril Ramaphosa.

He is expected to be elected to the post of deputy president.

He resigned as ANC secretary-general after falling out with former president Thabo Mbeki, and was famously deployed to business.

Now he could be back, despite his position as an active board member with Lonmin Mines.

If he does get elected, it will put him in pole position to be the next leader of the ANC in 2017.