THE African National Congress has identified internal squabbles, money politics and corruption as some of the elements contributing to the decline in its support base.
Secretary General Gwede Mantashe made the statement during his presentation to the policy conference as he urged members to work towards organisational renewal.
“The ANC faces declining fortunes. Internal squabbles, money politics, corruption and poor performance in government all conspire to undermine its legitimacy in the eyes of the broader public. Some progressive formations and individuals who historically have been part of the broad front of forces for change are challenging the movement on important current issues, particularly corruption,” said Mantashe.
The ANC lost key metros during the 2016 local government elections. Voters accused the organisation of being arrogant and out of touch with the people, something that Mantashe touched on in his presentation to the ANC national policy conference currently underway at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg.
He said the party was affected by an increased distance between leaders and members, poor performance in government, factionalism and abuse of organisational processes for personal gain.
Matashe, who is seen as vying for the Deputy ANC presidency in a slate led by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, also spoke about the ill-discipline of members and personal intelligence arrogance.
Ramaphosa and Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma are the front runners to succeed President Jacob Zuma as ANC leader at an elective conference in December. The ANC is locked in a six days conference to take stock of its policies and to look at how they can be implemented faster.
The policy conference comes six months before the party is set to elect new leaders. Mantashe has admitted that the organisation needed to come up with policies that will see it being able to survive for another 100 years.
He called on members to close ranks safeguard the organisation from people wanting to rule forever and splinter groups emerging within the ANC.
“As we move to the second centenary, we need the kind of ANC that is enduring and ‘built to last’, a transformative movement that will remain powerful for progressive change right into the next century and beyond. Conference should ponder on the mushrooming of structures within the movement, the protest structures political phenomenon should be evaluated against the claims of “love for the ANC” against what the ANC characterised as an “emergence of competition for resources and power’,” said Mantashe.
He said the ANC had to find a way to return power back to the branches, echoing Zuma’s message during the opening day of the conference on Friday that the branches held more power than those elected into leadership positions.
“We must consolidate organisational architecture of the ANC, policy formulation, monitoring and evaluation. We need to formalise this aspect without creating a pool for potential finger pointing – it must be a collective corrective measure. Relentless communication and the battle of ideas, political education and ideological training as well as constant engagement with the centres of power,” said Mantashe.
He further called on the organisation to implement cadre policy development and deployment policy, ethical and moral values.
The ANC secretary general hammered home the need for a comprehensive training programme. Looking ahead to the elective conference in December, Mantashe said the election process had to change.
“An ANC election process change to ensure open, transparent contest, CVs discussed by ANC structures and their constituencies. NEC size reduced and NOT more than 65% of NEC Members serve in Cabinet and Legislature. The ANC needs a careful balance of experience and bright young minds. The best cadres must be deployed to ANC rather than the government,” he said.
Radical economic transformation was also high on the agenda to help the ailing liberation movement to reinvent itself. Mantashe said it was required for a more prosperous and equal society.
“Radical economic transformation is needed for a rapid transformation of the economy and society to overcome inequalities and ownership patterns. Weakness has been inability to implement policies and programmes economic transformation not elite project replacing white exploiters with black – e.g. share profit and shares in companies with workers,” he said.
Mantashe added that the ANC could renew itself without losing its traditional outlook. He said organisations exist within a political and ideological context and there is an urgent need to strengthen the organisational machinery to achieve the ANC’s historic mission.
“The organisation must re-orientate itself, re-adjust and completely re-organize itself and its organisational machinery. New demands of the current conjecture characterise a demand by modern young, savvy and media literate captive markets and voter pools,” he said.