ANC rises to the challenge

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The stalwarts have been engaging with the ANC leadership since last November, but talks collapsed ahead of the conference as they failed to agree on delinking the consultative conference with the policy conference.

"The Freedom Charter emphasises that education shall be free, compulsory, universal and equal for all children; higher education and technical training shall be opened to all by means of State allowances and scholarships awarded on the basis of merit", Zuma pointed out.

Zuma said the court challenges hindered the government from implementing its policies.

"What impressed me the most is the quality of the debate".

He said whenever opposition parties were defeated in Parliament, where the ANC has a majority, they would run to the courts, "where it doesn't have [a] majority".

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However, some veterans of the struggle against apartheid boycotted the event because of concerns about alleged state corruption and mismanagement on Mr Zuma's watch. He demanded that those implicated must own up.

According to a report by the City Press, an intense discussion broke out in the conference plenary on Friday, as Dlamini-Zuma's camp sought to flex its muscles by ensuring that ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe would be barred from delivering a 10-page organisational diagnostics report.

"We are going through a time when we have outsourced our democracy", he said on Friday, alluding to the accusations that Indian business moguls Ajay, Atul, Rajesh and Varun Gupta have used their relationships with President Jacob Zuma to influence South African policy making and political appointments.

Zuma and Mantashe took jabs at the stalwarts, accusing them of disregarding the role of the branches at the conference, which is taking place at Nasrec Expo Centre, south of Johannesburg.

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