Decoding the ANC’s ‘radical’ resolutions: Why there’s no reason to fear

CAPE TOWN - Here’s a cold voice of reason and logic that cuts through the circulation-boosting media headlines to debunk a growing and dominant discourse that the ANC elective/policy conference “radicalised” the ANC. Fear and drama are powerful tools that both the media and politicians play to for less than noble reasons, hard as that is for some journalists to admit. Nationalisation, expropriation of land without compensation, fee-free higher education, are not all that they seem. Here political studies professor, Steven Friedman, cuts through the incomplete reportage to unpack just what the caveats to most of the so-called radical resolutions actually mean. The answer is that their phrasing reflects the down-the-middle party split, eloquent compromises that appear radical but actually mean very little. The status quo will remain because they reflect almost no change to long-standing ANC policies. Rather they are a reiteration of policies, with a sweet sprinkling of caveats to assuage the pressurised left and/or the ruling Zuptoids. Friedman picks out one really positive resolution, which if carried out, will end centuries of patronage, cronyism and go a long way to halting State Capture in rural areas. This is that control over land should rest with communities, not chiefs. Perhaps the country – and ANC cadres – have had enough of the big chief syndrome. – Chris Bateman 

By Steven Friedman*

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