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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

ANC Leader Criticizes Party Of Factionalism, Confusion

BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa -- The secretary general of South Africa's ruling African National Congress has sharply criticized party organization at the movement's first congress since coming to power, saying the ANC is riven by factionalism and mismanagement.


Cyril Ramaphosa told about 3,000 delegates that the former liberation movement was struggling to find its feet.


"This problem has been exacerbated by key members of the organization moving into government," he said. "Even within ANC ranks there has been confusion about the positions of the organization on certain issues."


The congress was opened Saturday by South African President Nelson Mandela, who acknowledged in his key-note address that his new government must provide "visible change'' to improve people's lives next year before public discontent boils over.


"For, proud as we should be of the achievements made, the reality is that democratic forces in our country have captured only elements of political power,'' Mandela said. "South Africa is not yet out of the woods.''


Social change is too slow in coming, Mandela said, and new legislation to redress the wrongs of apartheid is taking "longer than the situation demanded.''


The slow pace of the government's ambitious five-year reconstruction and development program has less to do with political directives than with the sobering reality of transforming a nation saddled with 50 percent black unemployment and appalling inequalities in land, health care, education and housing.


There is also rising resentment on the part of the mostly black ANC members, who argue that Mandela's fervent appeals for reconciliation with whites since the April election have blinded him to the immediate needs of disadvantaged blacks.


So far, at least, there has been little evidence that public discontent or disillusionment have threatened Mandela's remarkable popularity, or the national consensus behind his leadership of a coalition government. Political violence has fallen sharply. (Reuters, LAT)