ANC lobby groups should do so openly

2017-03-12 06:01
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

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The ANC wants to regularise lobby or interest groups within it ranks because prohibiting them has done nothing but weaken the party, it asserts.

The party believes having a formalised and transparent lobbying process will put a stop to factionalism, whose secretive nature has essentially made it a parallel activity taking place without control.

This proposal is contained in the ANC’s discussion document titled Organisational Renewal and Organisational Design, meant for its national policy conference in June.

The conference reviews policies of the ANC and will recommend new policies or amend existing policies for approval by the national conference in December.

The document, which is among those that the governing party will publicly release today, states that the perception that lobbying is prohibited in the party creates favourable grounds for destructive factionalism.

“Factionalism has become an integral part of the organisational culture. Its clandestine nature makes it a parallel activity that is beyond reproach,” it reads.

“Efforts should be made at regularising lobby or interest group activity within the organisation. There is a need for formalisation and transparent processes in managing lobby group activities.

“Drawing from the experiences of social democratic and left-leaning parties, the ANC has to develop guidelines to formalise and manage various interest groups within its ranks.”

The observation comes as the party battles to control leaders openly campaigning for their preferred candidates to replace President Jacob Zuma, whose term as party president expires in December.

The ANC Women’s League has for some time now defied warnings from Luthuli House and continue to openly lobby for former African Union Commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Its president, Bathabile Dlamini, has been clear about the league’s support for Dlamini-Zuma whenever she makes appearances at various churches as part of her presidential campaign trail.

The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) has also endorsed Dlamini-Zuma, although recent developments indicate that there are serious divisions over the issue.

While deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa has not openly started his campaign, his lobbyists have started garnering support on social media under the hashtag #CR17Siyavuma – touting him as the only hope for unity in the ANC.

However, only tripartite alliance partner Cosatu has so far publicly endorsed him.

Meanwhile, the ANC is looking to significantly reduce its 86-member national executive committee (NEC), which it wants to be more visible in provinces and branches.

Provincial executive committees will not be spared as delegates at the policy conference will debate their reduction as well.

The document says the current number of “warm bodies” in the party’s highest decision-making body between conferences “does not augur well with a necessity to have well-oiled organisational machinery capable of providing the required strategic political direction”.

Although no exact number is being proposed, the document says that the NEC must be a balanced mix of members in government and those engaged in civil society and business. A maximum target of 65% of NEC members must be allowed to serve in Cabinet, it reads.

The ANC NEC is made up of 86 members, some of whom are Cabinet ministers, with the top six party officials being its president, deputy president, chairperson, secretary-general and deputy secretary-general, as well as treasurer-general.

The ANC resolved to increase the number from 60 to 86 members back in 2007 by those supporting Zuma saying it would ensure greater representation of the party’s various strands.

At the time, there had been concern from Cosatu and the ANC’s other alliance partner, the SA Communist Party, that the executive had become overloaded with business leaders and Cabinet ministers with no constituency who no longer represented the party’s core constituency – the working class.

Slashing the number of people in that structure was first touted by the ANCYL last August, as the party nursed bruises from the local government elections where its support declined, leading to the party losing control of key metros to opposition parties.

At the time, ANCYL secretary-general Njabulo Nzuza said reducing the size of the NEC would make it “more efficient and effective, and allow space for it to take decisions with speed and reduce bureaucratic behaviour”.

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Read more on:    nec  |  anc  |  jacob zuma  |  nkosazana dlamini-zuma

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