NGC: ANC denies claims its policies are hostile to the west

The ANC’s resolutions on its foreign policy will be debated during its mid-year policy review council today.

ANC's Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe and deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, have a moment at the party's National General Council in Midrand on 9 October 2015. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC) has denied its policies are hostile towards western countries such as the United States, but says South Africa should unashamedly implement policies that are in its national interests.

The ANC's resolutions on its foreign policy will be debated during its mid-year policy review council, starting in Midrand today.

The ANC's head of its Economic Transformation Committee, Enoch Godongwana, says the United States and Australia are fiercely guarding their industries and South Africa should do the same.

"Where we see what our national interests are as a country and put legislative framework to jealously, guard that national interest. The Australians have blocked the Chinese from buying their mines, the same thing with the Americans; they've just blocked the Chinese from taking their habours."

ANC Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe, says the ANC's policies are not hostile towards the west.

"Our policies and documents don't alienate anybody, except people and countries that believe that the world is themselves."

Among the issues on the agenda for foreign trade are the intellectual property right, the Private Security Amendment Bill and the African Growth and Opportunities Act by the US.

President Jacob Zuma, who is due to speak today, says policies from opposition parties cannot even compare to the policies from the ANC, which is why investing in the ruling party is a wise choice.

Watch: Delegates at the ANC's NGC get ready to debate the party's economic and policy issues.

The NGC has the power to suggest new agencies or means of achieving policy objectives.

Zuma says, as a politician, he's had insight into policies from other parties.

"I've not found policies that can compare to those of the African National Congress about the future."

He says the ANC has created opportunities and it's a winning party, comparing it to South Africans national rugby team.

In isiZulu, he told delegates, "How many did the Springboks score, 64! They've got a winning spirit, like the ANC. Absolutely! Because ANC is the winning party."

Zuma says the NGC is an important gathering, where the ruling party can reflect on the past and ensure it doesn't fail in the future.

The ANC's NGC is expected to focus on transforming the economy, attracting investment and creating jobs.

Zuma says it's an important gathering where the ruling party can analyse where it has gone wrong and focus on what it needs to do in order to be better.


There are more than 4,000 delegates attending this conference, and more than 2,000 of them are ordinary branch members.

Mantashe says economic policy and its effect on the broader population will be thoroughly debated.

"How does this policy impact jobs, how does that job impact poverty or inequality? That's what members of the ANC will be asking. We have a responsibility as leadership to simplify complex economic concepts to make them understand."

While the party said the congress is not about leadership, ANC Women's League treasure Maite Nkoane-Mashabane says their position is clear.

"We're not even shy to say this is about time that South Africa will be very proud to have first female president."

Nkoane-Mashabane says she resents the perception that the so-called 'premier league' influences them.

"They must please not insult us. That's an insult because we're adults, and we're leaders in our own right. We fought for this freedom together with others."

On the surface, the ANC goes into this event less divided than in the past. In 2005, the division between then president Thabo Mbeki and now president Zuma, was stark.

In 2010, Zuma won a huge battle with Julius Malema that led to Malema eventually being expelled from the ANC.

But there are still complicated power dynamics at play within the party.

The premier league of three premiers appears to be gaining ground, and some provinces may try to fight back.

Then there's the relationship between Zuma and Mantashe, which appears that they don't seem as close as they were once were.

But many people will simply be watching for any hints of who could take over from Zuma in 2017.