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

An ANC delegate cheers as he awaits the convening of the party’s 55th National Electoral Conference in Nasrec, Johannesburg December 16, 2022. The hotly contested conference begins and will determine the future leadership of the ANC.

  • Finance Minister Enoch Godogwana says both ANC presidential candidates have sound economic policies.
  • Godongwana says he doesn’t care who wins.
  • The ANC has achieved its own goals in the economy, he says.
  • For more stories see News24 Business front page

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana says he will be happy no matter who wins the ANC presidential race because he has worked with both candidates and both have sound economic policies.

The ANC conference is accepting nominations for the top six positions today. So far, the branches have nominated President Cyril Ramaphosa and former Health Minister Zweli Mkhize as presidents.

Speaking to businessmen and diplomats at a breakfast event held 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 in the US, where politics belongs to the president, here politics belongs to the party. Irrespective of a change in leadership, the party will continue its policy. I’m not panicking about who’s coming out.

Godongwana said there would be no material impact from a leadership change. The sacking of an ANC president was also no longer a rarity, as only Nelson Mandela had escaped this fate.

“Those of you who know the President know his (approach). Those who know Zweli Mkhize know that even during his time as Treasurer General of the ANC he was very active in coordinating with companies and so on. I will not discredit any candidate,” he said.

READ| ANC election conference: Disruptions, delays on day one as KZN delegates express dissatisfaction with Ramaphosa

Godongwana, a candidate for the ANC’s national executive committee, told the audience that while the economy is facing global headwinds, the ANC has also achieved some goals of its own, particularly in relation to Eskom.

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

The government did three things to restore energy security. First, the Treasury would take on some of its debt so Eskom could borrow again. Second, it focused on improving plant performance, and third, it encouraged new power generation capacity, not necessarily at Eskom.

The state-run logistics sector is also in trouble, Godongwana said, and Transnet is on track to become the next Eskom.

“We have to do something about this sector. Some of the problems are not caused by themselves. Optimal use of rail and port infrastructure would have brought the mining sector R150 billion more and I would have an additional R27 billion in revenue.” The conference runs until Tuesday.

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