It was opened by the President Jacob Zuma this morning at the Gallager Estate, Midrand.
In his opening remark, Zuma said tendencies that could damage the ruling party and party allies and businesses are expected to debate the controversial Second Transition which has caused uneasiness amongst the organization.
“The ANC has said the First Transition was to rid the country of apartheid laws and the Second Transition will aim to tackle the high unemployment and poverty rates,” says Zuma much to rousing applause from some 3, 800 strong delegates who are expected to form part of the Policy making decision.
On the issue of economic power in South Africa, Zuma said it is still mostly under the control of whites who held power under apartheid and the government needs to take more drastic steps to make sure the black majority can benefit from its wealth.
“Challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality posed long-term risks for Africa’s richest country 18 years after the end of apartheid.
“The structure of the apartheid-era economy has remained largely intact,” he said.
The President went on to highlight that the ownership of the economy is still primarily in the hands of white males as it has always been.
The ANC has drafted a raft of policy documents that call on mining firms to pay more to the state to help finance welfare spending. The proposals also advocate relying on state-owned enterprises to be engines of job creation and growth.
“The time has come to do something more drastic towards economic transformation and freedom,” Zuma said.
Various political principals, church leaders, traditional groups, businesses and community leaders are part of the four-day conference.
Amongst thorny issues to be discussed includes, land redistribution; economic growth; e-tolling; youth participation in key policy matters and nationalization, etc.
Views from attending delegates were mum on whether the fired ANC Youth League President Julius Malema would attend.
On a lighter note, fashion, German made cars and hair-dos already dominate the conference.
The ANC Policy Conference ends on Friday 29.