THE African National Congress (ANC) and its alliance partners will emerge stronger and united from its policy conference, South African Communist Party (SACP) general secretary Blade Nzimande said on Thursday.

"We hold policy conferences to plug gaps," he said on the sidelines of the ruling party's policy conference in Midrand.

What was important for the SACP was the content of the discussion papers, Mr Nzimande said.

"President Jacob Zuma articulated the need for [a] radical shift; the tone set by the president calls for radical measures."

Mr Nzimande was referring to the party's discussion paper on the need for a so-called "second transition" to correct economic imbalances in the country. He said the SACP agreed with the proposal.

He also said the SACP agreed with the proposal of nationalisation.

"We are clear on nationalisation. We feel Sasol and ArcelorMittal must be renationalised as key national entities."

Mr Nzimande said debates at the policy conference were robust and encouraging.

"We are happy the way the conference has progressed so far ... we will emerge stronger with deep, radical determination."

The conference, in its third day, was expected to consolidate reports from commissions on the second transition and on organisational renewal.

ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu earlier dismissed reports that the idea of a second transition had been rejected.

He said discussions were still being finalised.

Business Day reported earlier that delegates had shot down the "second transition" policy concept, which Mr Zuma has championed as a solution to poverty and unemployment.

The rejection of the concept - debate on which is regarded as a proxy for the ANC's leadership battle - will embolden members and leaders campaigning to replace Mr Zuma at the party's elective conference in December.

ANC delegates attending the conference in Midrand said the concept was rejected by "virtually all the commissions" for being theoretically poor.

One of 11 commissions studying policy proposals, and attended by Mr Zuma himself, concluded that "while the reasons behind reference to a second transition were understandable, the concept is inappropriate, and does not convey the movement's theorisation of the process of social transformation", according to notes seen by Business Day on Wednesday night.

The commission said the ANC should not create an "artificial separation between social and political tasks"

"The commission strongly believes that the original transition should be directed towards attainment of all Freedom Charter objectives. There can never be a second transition because the aims and objectives of the first transition as captured in the Freedom Charter have not been achieved."

The ANC is meeting in Midrand for four days, to discuss 13 policy documents ahead of its national conference in December.

The policy decisions made at the policy conference will be discussed and finalised at the national conference in Mangaung in December.

These policies will form the basis for the ANC government's policies, new laws or amended laws.

Sapa, with Sam Mkokeli, Setumo Stone and Natasha Marrian