KARABO NGOEPE, PIET RAMPEDI and AYANDA MDLULI
ANC national executive committee (NEC) member Joel Netshitenzhe was thrown out of plenary late yesterday after he refused to apologise for distorting conference resolutions on the existence of white monopoly capital.
According to three ANC sources who attended yesterday’s plenary session where Netshitenzhe’s presentation was debated, the policy guru was kicked out after defying delegates’ call for him to apologise for telling the media that the national policy conference had roundly rejected the contentious concept as a myth.
“Joel has been thrown out of plenary. They tried to make him apologise for what he said during plenary yesterday, but he refused. Too many captured souls in the ANC,” said a highly placed source.
Together with land and economic policy proposals, the concept of white monopoly capital is seen as a proxy leadership battle between supporters of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC NEC member
Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. The latter’s backers are allies of President Jacob Zuma. Netshitenzhe is seen as a
Sources said Mantashe, who chairs the steering committee, tried to douse the fires on Wednesday morning by apologising to angry delegates on behalf of Netshitenzhe, who was not in plenary at the time.
Gauteng ANC deputy chairperson and Premier David Makhura urged plenary to accept the apology and move on.
However, Zuma supporters rejected the apology saying Netshitenzhe had to come to plenary and offer it personally, added the sources.
“Gwede entered the hall before they started and said he apologised on behalf of Joel because he made a terrible mistake. Makhura stood up and said, ‘let’s accept the apology and move on’. But the people rejected the apology said they Joel must come and apologise himself. It was a very contentious issue. Joel was not there,” one source said.
Another source said Netshitenzhe later came to plenary and rejected demands for him to apologise.
“When he arrived, he said ‘what I presented yesterday is correct and I stand by it; I am not apologising and
am not going to apologise. If there are consequences, let it be’. That’s when the second commotion took place,” he said.
The third source said: “The Secretary General said Comrade Joel made an incorrect pronouncement. The commissions agreed that white monopoly capital does exist and should be termed [as] such. Cadre Joel was instructed to apologise but he blatantly refused.”
Zuma supporters then reported Netshitenzhe to the steering committee for a decision before the conference ends, they said. He added that had the matter not been resolved by the national policy conference, they would have referred the case to the NEC.
Addressing the media alongside ANC NEC member Febe Potgieter-Qubule, Netshitenzhe had said that the nine of the 11 commissions had rejected the concept of white monopoly capital.
He said the relationship between the party and “monopoly capital in particular and also capital in general” was one of “co-operation and contestation” because monopoly capital had no colour.
The party co-operated with monopoly capitalists on areas such as higher rate of unemployment, job creation and skills transfer while differing with them on practices such as collusion and abuse of market prices, he added.
“The issue was then raised, do we want to categorise monopoly capital as white monopoly capital? And nine out of 11 commissions said the phenomenon of white monopoly capital is a global one and it manifests itself differently in various parts of the globe, and in that context it would therefore not be correct to characterise ours simply as white monopoly capital,” said Netshitenzhe.
Zuma’s allies immediately dismissed Netshitenzhe’s presentation as a distortion. They included KwaZulu-Natal ANC chairperson Sihle Zikalala, Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) leader Kebby Maphatsoe, North West ANC Chairperson Supra Mahumapelo and ANC Youth League Secretary General Njabulo Nzuza.
“It is not true. There was consensus that there is white monopoly capital in South Africa. If this is not corrected now, there would be chaos in the ANC. Branches will rise and say this [Netshitenzhe’s presentation] is not a true reflection of what transpired at plenary. It is ill-discipline,” Maphatsoe told African Times on Tuesday night.
However other Ramaphosa backers had shared Netshitenzhe’s sentiment. In an interview with African Times on Tuesday night, Limpopo ANC chairperson Stan Mathabatha had dismissed the concept of white monopoly capital as a “fallacy”.
“We are saying that is fallacy. It’s actually a distortion of resolutions. We haven’t had a concept of nature tested in philosophical life or in revolutionary theory anywhere,” Mathabatha said.
Netshitenzhe is not the only senior leader aligned to Ramaphosa who was forced by delegates to apologise.
Former Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom faced the same fate after saying the champions of radical economic transformation and expropriation of land without compensation were talking “nonsense”.
Yesterday, Zuma said the discussions around white monopoly capital were “very interesting”. He added that the debates were an indication of a healthy organisation and should not be viewed negatively.
“The ANC has always been united. You guys don’t understand the competitions. They are healthy and
constructive competitions. That is what is in the ANC; it’s not dangerous ones; its happy ones. I think the quality of debate is very high, higher than other times.”