ANC president Jacob Zuma has called for the party to shift gears as it heads to its national conference in Mangaung in December.
“After Mangaung we have got to change gears because our gears have been wobbling,” Zuma said to loud applause at the conclusion of the party's four-day policy conference in Midrand.
The conference had endorsed the need for a radical economic and transformation programme to dismantle the apartheid structure of the economy, he said.
“The branches of the ANC in their wisdom have declared that we are in a continuing transition from apartheid colonialism to a National Democratic Society.”
The conference rejected the notion of a second transition – a phrase that has become associated with Zuma's reported bid for a second term as president – but endorsed the idea of a second phase in the transition to a state where everyone has political, economic and social emancipation.
Zuma said that although the ANC had many successes in the last 18 years, the "challenges" of poverty, inequality and employment persisted.
One of the problems South Africa still needed to correct was the skewed ownership and management of the economy.
Zuma said the conference had agreed that state intervention in the minerals and mining sector was "urgently required", but he made no mention of a proposed super tax on mining.
"At the forefront of this intervention should be strengthening of the recently created state mining company by consolidating state mining assets into a single institution."
Delegates had resolved to establish a single police service integrating various municipal police departments under the control of the SA Police Service.
Delegates also resolved that street committees would be set up.
"Street committees should be established and controlled by the ANC," said Zuma.
Zuma clearly set out the principle of the separation of powers between the executive, legislature and judiciary.
"The branches of the state are equal parties entrusted with distinct Constitutional powers," he said.
"No branch is superior to others."
The youth wage subsidy had been rejected during the talks, and Zuma said the proposals to address youth unemployment now included a tax credit to incentivise youth employment, the provision of training subsidies and a youth work-seekers grant linked to skills development.
“All these proposals aim to bring new entrants into the workplace, while still protecting the jobs and conditions of existing workers.”
He called for a discussion on youth unemployment between government, the private sector, youth organisations and labour, given the gravity of the situation.
Leading up to the conference there had been many calls to scrap the willing buyer, willing seller approach to land redistribution.
Zuma affirmed that this approach would be replaced but was vague on the details.
“Conference also affirmed the proposal to replace willing buyer willing seller with the 'Just and equitable' principle in the Constitution, immediately where the state is acquiring land for land reform purposes,” he said.
Later, land commission member Tina Joemat-Petterson told media this would not entail any change to the Constitution.
Zuma's speech was delayed by apparent in-fighting among delegates.
Media were called to the Midrand venue to hear Zuma speak at 4.20pm on Friday.
By 5.40pm media were still being kept in a holding room and could hear shouting and whistling from the main hall.
A security guard was heard saying: "Kuyafiwa" -- in Zulu, meaning "things are tense".
Media could hear a man shouting from the hall: "Order, order!" However, Zuma said members had behaved very well.
"Comrades, you have displayed exceptional conduct and restored the integrity of the organisation," he said to laughter, jeers, cheers and whistles.
He said delegates had debated policy with dignity.
It had been a landmark conference amid much speculation.
"I've always said that people believe they know and understand the ANC and yet they always prove themselves less knowledgeable about the ANC," he said to loud cheers.
He did, however, take a swipe at members who transgressed the rules.
"Conference emphatically condemned factionalism and agreed that political discipline is a necessary ingredient without which no organisation can achieve its goals.
"Members who are found guilty of wrongdoing in other institutions of society should also be subjected to internal disciplinary processes in line with the ANC code of conduct."
He said there should be no favouritism when it came to disciplining ANC members.
He said delegates also agreed that its leagues understood and played their role within the ANC.
"... Leagues [must] understand and play their full role in line with the purpose for which they were founded," said Zuma.
He said the leagues needed to undergo compulsory political training conducted by the ANC.
Recommendations made at the policy conference would be taken back to ANC branches for further discussion and input.
They would be presented at the ANC's national conference in Mangaung in December where they could be adopted as official policy.
This would then inform government legislation and policies.