It is without doubt that the ANC was gripped by factional battles in the lead-up to last December’s elective conference. At the centre of the internecine warfare were the so called NDZ (Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma) supporters pitted against a group that coalesced around the current President Cyril Ramaphosa under the CR17 banner.
The NDZ campaign was predicated on the radical economic transformation mantra and a crude crusade against the ghost and the supposed danger of “white monopoly capital”. Some mischievous section of this campaign, including a paramilitary cabal under the Black First Land First banner, waged an onslaught of dirty tricks against Ramaphosa, even accusing him of being a front of Western imperialist forces.
On the other hand, the CR17 grouping fashioned its campaign on pushing back the frontiers of corruption and state capture.
The campaign to lead the ANC at the conference has left deep scars in some parts of our movement. The unity and renewal project is extremely fragile. The current leadership has correctly adopted an attitude to defeat any form of factionalism and divisions in our movement, a tough ask that will require shoulder to the wheel by all its members.
The remnants of that sad part in our history continue to haunt the movement, with some not willing to accept the democratic outcome of the Nasrec conference. These forces are hellbent in derailing our forward march to the new dawn. The risk of counter-revolution from within the movement cannot be underestimated.
The ANC understands that diversity and unity are not diametric opposites, but dialectic opposites; that these are mutually reinforcing aspects of democratic politics.
The unity among its ranks and supporters is what has made this movement strong and imbued it with the Acapacity to give leadership to our diverse people and our nation. But the movement never misconstrued unity as uniformity. The ANC has always valued the breadth of its appeal and the diversity of its ranks, but placed equal value on aunity in action. The creative management of that tension has always been the secret of its success.
What is, however, peculiar about the post-Nasrec period is the emergence of a very strange phenomenon in our movement. Some in our ranks insist to a point of demand that all our conference resolutions be implemented now. But many of our resolutions are of a long-term nature and will thus take a while to implement.
By way of example, the ANC’s resolution on the establishment of a state bank is more than a decade old and is yet to be implemented. Therefore, any claims that the current leadership, elected a mere five months ago, could already be accused of failing to implement the resolutions of our conference are simply spurious and without any basis in reality. In contrast, there are clear signs of hope in the air across the length and breadth of our country since the election of the new leadership collective under the capable stewardship of Ramaphosa.
Compounding this further, some are murmuring in dark corners that an early national general council (NGC) be called ostensibly to remove the current president of the republic. Those who advocate this position expose their own political and ideological shallowness. Some rudimentary enlightenment will be in order here; the NGC was introduced after the 1997 Mafikeng Conference as the term of office of the national executive committee (NEC) was changed from three years to five years to accommodate the mammoth task of social transformation that our movement had undertaken at the time as a governing party.
The primary objective of the NGC is to review the implementation of policies and programmes of the ANC that have been adopted at the national congress. Therefore, the NGC was never intended to be a leadership-changing platform.
In other places songs are sung questioning what the former president of the republic and the ANC have done. In true ANC culture I will not deal with the pungent nature of this conduct in public. Suffice to assert that our movement, and indeed our nation, went through a very difficult period in the past few years. This relates to how we weakened various organs of state and allowed factionalism and divisions to fester in our organisation. It is for this reason that the Nasrec conference directed our movement to focus on renewal and unity in our organisation.
The current NEC should not pursue unity at all costs.
Where there are indisputable instances of defiance and fanning of factional and divisive activities, the leadership should descend hard like a ton of bricks on culprits through harsh action such as dismissals of members.
Our movement will not be able to wage a successful and effective election campaign without unity and cohesion. Therefore, no effort shall be spared in our quest to renew and unify our movement. But stern action shall descend on those who are hellbent on derailing our forward march to a decisive electoral victory in the 2019 general elections.
- Funyufunyu is deputy chairperson of the ANC at Mzala branch, Mulburton, Gauteng
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