A festival of ideas or dress rehearsal for elective conference?

In this episode of Eusebius on TimesLIVE, he is joined by fellow political analyst Ebrahim Fakir, and they debate whether the ANC's policy conference this weekend will produce honest and productive debate on policy.
Fakir has written a trenchant critique of the ANC's obsession, as he sees it, with externalising its problems. The ANC, argues Fakir, still posits “colonialism of a special kind” as the prism through which to understand contemporary ills in society.
This approach, he argues, is anachronistic and dishonest, because it does not adequately refer to ANC governance failures which are the major drivers of our poor economic and socioeconomic indices.
McKaiser and Fakir also discuss the past failures of the party to implement policies already adopted and which are now being repackaged for hackneyed discussion this weekend.
An example of this, which McKaiser wrote about on TimesLIVE, is the ANC's discussion document on “organisational renewal”.  In 2012, the ANC committed to a “decade of renewal” which, argues McKaiser, has not played out as the party resolved. This led McKaiser and Fakir to also debate the extent to which the ANC's policy stocktaking, and debates, can be regarded as a bona fide festival of ideas.
Fakir concedes that, though in his view the post-1994 era is still too short an historical period to talk about ANC conference patterns, McKaiser is justified in asserting that the conference, like ones before it, is best seen as a dress rehearsal for the elective conference scheduled for the end of this year.
They end the discussion by reflecting on why, despite these analytic and political problems with the ANC, citizens interested in the state of the nation and in the health of our democracy have no choice but to keep tabs on what happens at ANC conferences.
Do you agree with Fakir and McKaiser? Have a listen, and assess their analysis for yourself.