‘Screen comrades to protect the ANC’s image’

2012-01-21 16:54

ANC members running for leadership posts should undergo a vetting process by an internal commission in order to protect the image of the governing party.

This is the view of Deputy Defence Minister Thabang Makwetla after President Jacob Zuma hinted that the party’s leadership election system needs to be revived.

In his January 8 statement at the party’s centenary celebrations in Mangaung, Free State, Zuma said the ANC needs to review election systems “in order to enhance internal democracy, credibility of the process as well as the integrity and suitability of candidates”.

The president said the review would “protect the ANC from the tyranny of slates, factions and money”. Factionalism has been eating away at the party in recent years, but worsened towards the 2007 elective conference in Polokwane.

While Zuma did not give details of the plan, two national executive committee members who spoke to City Press on condition of anonymity, said the party wanted to use recommendations presented by Makwetla in 2005.

The recommendations were rejected by a Zuma-aligned faction comprising the majority of delegates to that year’s national general council (NGC).

Top of the deputy minister’s recommendations was the election of the ANC’s own electoral commission, which he said would lend credibility to the party’s elections.

Currently, an electoral commission is chosen at an elective conference to run the processes and its job ends there.

Said Makwetla: “The ANC could afford to do that in exile because there wasn’t any electoral business between conferences. There were no provinces and, also, we were an underground organisation.

“But today we have elections that are taking place at different levels throughout the five years. It’s important that there is some authority that is in charge of all these elections in the ANC.”

An electoral commission with vetting powers could disqualify questionable leaders.

“Why would we accept nominations of people who have been involved in heists, others were murderers and we accept them simply because they’ve been nominated by branches?

“This is part of the processes the electoral commission will have to plan for. You’ve got to vet these people and the branch decision can be changed should the vetting process discredit the candidate,” Makwetla said.

There is a need to modernise the ANC because it exists in an environment it has “not encountered before”, he said.

“It is these kind of gaps in the way the organisation is designed that makes it inefficient. It’s not functioning optimally.”

When Makwetla tabled the report in 2005, the party was at the height of factional battles between supporters of former president Thabo Mbeki and Zuma who had just been fired as the state deputy president.

“There were unfortunate perceptions that the document was the views of the former president,” he said.

“People say the ANC is a broad church, but many of the people in this church don’t have to read the Bible themselves to understand the story.”

Makwetla’s recommendations were slammed at the time for trying to change the ANC into a “bourgeois organisation”.

“Someone said ‘this is making the party a bourgeois party’ and everybody just went grrr. When you mentioned this document it was like you’re raising a red cloth in front of a raging bull.”

This week Makwetla said the party was resisting change and that it was falling deeper into a crisis of factionalism. It was this fear of change that played a big role in the rejection of the document at the 2005 NGC.

Some leaders in the ANC took Makwetla’s recommendations so seriously that Gauteng produced a refreshed version of proposals to redesign the ANC.

In fact, provincial secretary David Makhura in 2009 authored another document – “Organisation-building towards the ANC centenary and second decade of freedom”.

Makhura now agrees with Makwetla: “Renewal is not going to be an easy struggle to win. Those who benefit from the current chaos and decadence will resist renewal.”

Makwetla said the ANC was now “better empowered” to review the way the party does things because “we are now standing on a burning platform. The organisation is in big trouble. It is a case that everybody can see.”

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.