Godongwana: I’m not panicking about the ANC leadership race

An ANC delegate applauds as he waits for proceedings to convene at the party’s 55th Elective National Conference in Nasrec, Johannesburg on 16 December 2022. The hotly contested conference begins and will determine the future leadership of the ANC.

  • Finance Minister Enoch Godogwana says the two ANC presidential candidates have a good approach to economic policy.
  • Godongwana says he is not worried about who will win.
  • The ANC scored own goals in the economy, he says.
  • For more stories, go to News24 company front page

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana says he will be happy regardless of who wins the ANC presidential race because he has worked with both candidates and both have sound economic policy approaches.

The ANC conference will today collect nominations for the first six positions. So far, the branches have appointed President Cyril Ramaphosa and former Health Minister Zweli Mkhize as chairpersons.

Speaking to businessmen and diplomats at a breakfast on the sidelines of the conference, Godongwana said this was the first conference in a long time where he felt completely relaxed. He said:

Unlike the US, where politics belongs to the president, here, politics belongs to the party. Regardless of the change in leadership, the party will continue to follow its policies. I don’t panic who comes out.

Godongwana said a change in leadership would not have any material effect. It was also not uncommon for an ANC president to be sacked, as only Nelson Mandela had escaped that fate.

“Those of you who know the president, you know his (approach). Those of you who know Zweli Mkhize know that even during his days as treasurer-general of the ANC, he was very active in coordinating with businesses etc ., I will not discredit any candidate,” he said.

READ | ANC elective conference: Disruptions and delays hit day one as KZN delegates express unhappiness with Ramaphosa

ANC national executive committee candidate Godongwana told the audience that while the economy was facing global headwinds, the ANC had also scored some goals of its own, particularly in terms of Eskom

“We have dropped the ball. We have focused on fixing Eskom instead of fixing the grid. We need to focus on both,” he said.

The government was doing three things to restore energy security. First, the Treasury would assume part of its debt to allow Eskom to borrow again. Second, it focused on improving plant performance, and third, it encouraged new power generation capacity, not necessarily at Eskom.

The state logistics sector also struggled, Godongwana said, and Transnet was poised to become the next Eskom.

“We need to do something about this sector. Some of the problems are not of their own making. Optimal use of rail and port infrastructure would have earned another 150 billion rupees for the mining sector, and I would have 27 billion in revenue additional”. The conference continues until Tuesday.

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