ANC radicals angry at power-sharing deal

NELSON MANDELA, the president of the African National Congress (ANC), was resting at home yesterday on doctor's orders while the rest of the ANC leadership met in Johannesburg. The organisation was attempting to resolve an internal dilemma created after an open revolt against a deal negotiated with the government to share power for five years.

Doctors ordered 'a complete rest' for Mr Mandela, who was deemed to be suffering from exhaustion. An ANC spokesman said he had experienced a tough schedule recently and had cancelled all appointments until further notice. These included a trip to England, Scotland and Portugal next week, which was to have included lunch with John Major in London on Monday.

Anxieties that 74-year-old Mr Mandela might be seriously ill were dispelled by ANC leaders who were with him on Tuesday. Andrew Mlangeni, a member of the ANC's National Executive Committee, said that Mr Mandela was 'certainly not sick'. 'He attended the ANC NEC (National Executive Committee) meeting with us,' Mr Mlangeni said. 'He looked healthy.'

The same could not be said yesterday for the ANC as a whole. Mr Mandela himself has issued public assurances that ANC negotiators, who are led by the Secretary-General, Cyril Ramaphosa, have not entered into a 'power- sharing deal' with the government. But radicals within the ANC have refused to be fooled by what they view as an attempt by their president at semantic obfuscation.

What Mr Mandela has not denied, and what has indeed been confirmed by the government, is that an agreement has been reached for an interim government of national unity to be established after South Africa's first all-race elections, which are expected early next year. The coalition, membership of which will be determined by the number of votes each party wins, will rule for five years.

That, ANC hardliners say, amounts to a deal to share power. Leading the revolt against Mr Ramaphosa and fellow negotiators such as Joe Slovo, the Communist Party chairman, is Harry Gwala, the ANC's most powerful leader in Natal, a province radicalised by six years of bloody conflict between the ANC and Inkatha and its security force allies.

Mr Gwala, only two years younger than Mr Mandela and also a former political prisoner, issued a statement on Monday which struck a chord among substantial numbers of ANC activists.

'We find the agreement unacceptable,' Mr Gwala said, describing it as 'a drastic departure from what we have always known the ANC to stand for'. Unwavering in his perception that the war is not yet over, he added: 'This is indeed a strange way of appeasement. We are already setting down the rule of surrender before we meet the enemy. If we go out to negotiations with such terms of surrender, where do we draw the line?'

Mr Gwala made a proposal which, as he saw it, would resolve the matter once and for all. A national conference should be called to obtain a mandate from the ANC rank and file. This proposal, ANC sources said, was heatedly debated in yesterday's NEC meeting.

It was a shrewd move by Mr Gwala, the sources said, as to refuse would be to lay open the leadership to charges of anti-democratic elitism. Such a conference, however, is the last thing the likes of Mr Ramaphosa want. At best it would delay the negotiating process, and accordingly the election date. At worst, the interim government deal would be rejected, rendering pointless several months of painstaking bilateral negotiations with the government, plunging the ANC into the deepest leadership crisis of its history and casting the future of the country into doubt.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste