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ANC deputy sec­re­tary Jessie Duarte says the party will re­view its coun­cil­lor can­di­dates se­lec­tion process. This fol­lows the chaos that marked prepa­ra­tions for the Au­gust 3 mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions, which reached a cli­max this week in Tsh­wane. Duarte told City Press that hard les­sons had been learnt ahead of the elec­tions, which had led the ANC to do some in­tro­spec­tion.

Ma­jor prob­lems en­coun­tered this year in­cluded “pop­u­lar” can­di­dates who did not em­brace ANC val­ues, and losers in the process who were not pre­pared to ac­cept de­feat.

“The com­mon sen­ti­ment right now is that our en­tire sys­tem of se­lec­tion should be re­viewed. The big but is that the ANC will never un­der­mine its in­ter­nal democ­racy be­cause we are try­ing to teach our­selves how to re­spect the com­plex­i­ties of democ­racy,” Duarte said.

One of the is­sues that the party has had to con­tend with in its nom­i­na­tion process was the re­al­ity that its mem­bers chose peo­ple who were pop­u­lar, but did not nec­es­sar­ily pos­sess the val­ues con­tained in the ANC guide­lines.

“What we are try­ing to teach peo­ple is the val­ues. And it’s slow; it’s not as fast as we would like it to be, and we are go­ing to make many mis­takes go­ing for­ward, but our de­ter­mi­na­tion is that even if we re­view them, we won’t un­der­mine demo­cratic pro­cesses.”

An­other les­son learnt by the ANC was that lead­ers did not ac­cept de­feat when the ma­jor­ity view went against them, as they cited their pop­u­lar­ity.

Work was cur­rently un­der way to pre­pare a pa­per for pre­sen­ta­tion at the na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee meet­ing in Septem­ber, which deals with the per­for­mance assess­ment of ANC de­ploy­ees at local and par­lia­men­tary level, which Duarte said was meant to im­prove how the ANC worked.

“We are now say­ing the voice of the com­mu­nity is im­por­tant, but we are also very aware that this new thing of lob­by­ing has crept in.”

This lob­by­ing meant that even “the worst per­son would be­come mayor”.

A na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­ber said the prob­lem was not the process, but how it was be­ing man­aged. “There are rules and it is im­por­tant that peo­ple abide by them,” he said.

He said es­tab­lished democ­ra­cies like Sin­ga­pore did not chop and change the type of lead­ers they had in gov­ern­ment ev­ery five years.

“With ev­ery new mayor, they come with their own mu­nic­i­pal man­ager. What you then have is con­fu­sion and in­sta­bil­ity,” he said.

He said the DA process was not as demo­cratic, but it was “less painful”. But in an ear­lier in­ter­view, ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe said the ANC could not be like the DA and se­cretly de­cide be­hind closed doors who be­comes a coun­cil­lor.

An­other na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­ber said the rules were also not com­mu­ni­cated prop­erly, which re­sulted in per­cep­tions that or­di­nary mem­bers would choose their may­oral can­di­dates.

“There is noth­ing in the ANC’s pro­cesses that says branch mem­bers will choose may­oral can­di­dates,” he said.

Was the ANC wor­ried about los­ing the metro in light of di­vi­sions in Tsh­wane?

“We are not ar­ro­gant. We are talk­ing to peo­ple who vote. We are not dis­re­gard­ing the poll and we are not re­ly­ing on them.”

The ANC lead­er­ship has asked the Gaut­eng provin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee to seek the help of local veter­ans in re­solv­ing the prob­lems in Tsh­wane.

“Good peo­ple have been brought in. They have gone back to peo­ple [who were] in lead­er­ship in the 90s to work with the re­gional lead­er­ship.”

Th­ese in­clude, among oth­ers, Peter Maluleka, Mpho Lek­goro, Bheki Nkosi, Tiego Moseneke and Ron­nie Mamoepa.

Jessie Duarte

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