Divisions dominate debates

2010-09-23 00:00

THE thorny issue of ill-discipline plaguing the ANC was thoroughly discussed in behind-the-scenes commissions yesterday as the ruling party’s national general council (NGC) entered its third day.

The chairperson of one of the commissions, Tony Yengeni, admitted to the media yesterday that the issue, which party president Jacob Zuma had raised in his speech on Monday, was a major topic among delegates as the commissions discussed the reports on organisational renewal, leadership and organisatonal culture.

“Many delegates criticised the leadership for not acting swiftly on taking disciplinary measures against certain people when they were quick to act against others

“… Members felt that the NEC [national executive committee] must have the will to deal firmly with any member who crosses the line.

“This matter was raised very forcefully in the commission,” he added.

Yengeni said the issue of senior alliance officials attacking and insulting party leaders under the banner of their organisations will be raised at an alliance summit scheduled to take place later this year.

“Ill-discipline ravaging our organisation has caught attention of the membership and they believe the NGC should come up with a resolution to eradicate this alien tendency.

“We will deal with individuals as people joined the ANC as individuals …” Yengeni said.

The closed-session commissions also discussed threats to the long-term survival of the ANC and what should be done by the present generation of members to ensure that future generations inherit an ANC that continues to serve society and to give moral and political leadership to the people.

The former leader of the ANC Youth League, Fikile Mbalule, whom the ANCYL has namoinated to replace Gwede Mantashe as party secretary-general, denied that he has expressed disagreements with the organisational report delivered by Mantashe.

He also rejected insinuations that the NGC is characterised by leadership debates.

Mbalula said the organisation is not discussing organisational renewal because it is dead or critically ill, but to ensure its continued existence.

He said the NGC has been very successful so far and that delegates are sticking to discussing issues relevant to the NGC.

“We have achieved what we have set out to achieve. Delegates are debating robustly the critical issues that brought them to this NGC.

“Those who have made comments to the media about succession issues are mainly faceless people and no one has raised those issues on the record,” Mbalula said.

Asked whether he will stand against Mantashe for the secretary-general post in 2012, Mbalula said: “I don’t answer to the media because the media are not a branch of the ANC. I will answer that question at an appropriate time to branches of the ANC.”

Independent political analyst Aubrey Mashiqi yesterday said there was nothing new about the organisational renewal debate, but what he found interesting was the context in which the ANC Youth League is raising the issue of a “generation mix”.

This, he said, seems to be used as a tool to threaten members who do not support policy positions of the ANCYL.

“Those who do not support the league are threatened that they will not be supported for leadership position and the generation mix has been used in this, but Zuma corrected this in his speech on Monday.

“… if this was a boxing match, I would say he was ahead on points,” Mashiqi said.

Another political analyst, Protas Madlala, praised the ANC for acknowledging the existence of ill-discipline and corruption in its ranks.

“It is clear that the pre-1994 ‘selfless struggle’ has been turned into a struggle for self-enrichment. The rot is right inside the organisation …

“It is brave of the ANC to admit that its branches are collapsing. Now they have to deal decisively with all these illnesses, and there will be casualties,” Madlala said.

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