1 mem­ber, 1 vote is on the cards

CityPress - - News - LUBABALO NGCUKANA lubabalo.ngcukana@city­press.co.za

One of the main pol­icy pro­pos­als made by the Eastern Cape branch of the ANC at the na­tional pol­icy con­fer­ence this week was warmly re­ceived by del­e­gates.

If adopted, the pro­posed “one mem­ber, one vote” will cul­mi­nate in all party mem­bers of good stand­ing vot­ing di­rectly for their pre­ferred leader.

This will deal ef­fec­tively with the fac­tion­al­ism and vote­buy­ing that is rife in the cur­rent sys­tem, where lead­ers are voted into power by branch del­e­gates.

ANC pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary Os­car Mabuyane, who has been cham­pi­oning the idea, spoke to City Press af­ter the five-day con­fer­ence ended.

Mabuyane de­scribed the one mem­ber, one vote pro­posal as “rad­i­cal and rev­o­lu­tion­ary” as its in­ten­tions were to con­nect the ANC di­rectly with its mem­bers.

“The idea is also to ex­pand our sup­port base and at­tract mem­bers through the in­cen­tive of know­ing that they will no longer cede their rights to del­e­gates to vote for lead­er­ship on their be­half. They [mem­bers] can vote for lead­er­ship where they are.

“Re­mem­ber that the ANC be­longs to the masses of this coun­try, not any in­di­vid­ual. Our demo­cratic cen­tral­ism of ced­ing power to del­e­gates has not been work­ing well, given all the chal­lenges of fac­tion­al­ism, cor­rup­tion and vote-buy­ing. So we needed to think more broadly.”

Mabuyane said the party had the­o­rised enough about its rev­o­lu­tion and done lit­tle prac­ti­cal work, adding that it was time to be more prac­ti­cal in chang­ing ma­te­rial con­di­tions.

Mabuyane said the con­cept of one mem­ber, one vote was still in its “em­bry­onic stage” as the idea had been thrown into the pub­lic space only two weeks be­fore the pol­icy con­fer­ence.

“Had we had more than six months to process it, con­cep­tu­alise it prop­erly and en­gage other peo­ple about it, it would surely have re­ceived more sup­port than it did.

“But, gen­er­ally, no one has an issue with it be­cause peo­ple want us to find a per­ma­nent panacea to the chal­lenges of fac­tion­al­ism, gate­keep­ing, with­hold­ing of mem­ber­ship and all these kinds of for­eign tendencies that are drag­ging the ANC’s name into the mud.”

Mabuyane said the con­cept would be tweaked for the ANC elec­tive con­fer­ence in December.

He ex­pressed the hope that it would be con­sid­ered in fu­ture as it was al­ready prac­tised by more ad­vanced democ­ra­cies.

“It is high time we are able to look at it as well and, if we im­ple­ment it, it will surely give all mem­bers the cer­tainty that ANC lead­er­ship is not about a top-down ap­proach, but one that is from the bot­tom up,” he said.

The pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary said that, al­though the plan was for the fu­ture, there was noth­ing stop­ping the gov­ern­ing party from im­ple­ment­ing it in December if branches adopted it and the party was ready.

“It may not be im­ple­mented in December, but it still can be im­ple­mented. Re­mem­ber that it is one of the three op­tions that the com­mis­sion brought for­ward. It is the sec­ond op­tion. The first is the cur­rent sta­tus quo. If we can be ready by December to re­ally rad­i­calise our elec­toral college, that is an op­tion for us if we do not go with the cur­rent sys­tem.

“But in the ANC, we give our­selves time. We must first be con­vinced about its prac­ti­cal ap­pli­ca­tion, which is crit­i­cal. We are not in a hurry. We should ask this ques­tion – in fu­ture, how are we pro­ject­ing our de­vel­op­men­tal tra­jec­tory as an or­gan­i­sa­tion in terms of broad­en­ing our mem­ber­ship base?”

In their pre­sen­ta­tion on the out­comes of com­mis­sion dis­cus­sions on strat­egy and tac­tics, and on or­gan­i­sa­tional re­newal at the pol­icy con­fer­ence, the ANC’s Febe Pot­gi­eter-Gqubule and party heavy­weight Joel Net­shiten­zhe said the pro­posal was achiev­able, al­though it was a rad­i­cal depar­ture from how the party elected lead­ers.

“There are other par­ties around the world who elect di­rectly. I think they call them pri­maries, which means you don’t have an elec­toral college where del­e­gates rep­re­sent mem­ber­ship. You have a sys­tem where peo­ple vote for their re­gional, pro­vin­cial and na­tional ex­ec­u­tives di­rectly,” said Pot­gi­eter-Gqubule.

“That is pos­si­ble with tech­nol­ogy. We al­ready do that as a coun­try [dur­ing gen­eral elec­tions] with a few mil­lion vot­ers.”

PHOTO: LEON SADIKI

MAK­ING THEM­SELVES HEARD A clear divi­sion was no­ticed in the con­duct of ANC del­e­gates at the na­tional pol­icy con­fer­ence this week. One group sang pro-Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma songs, while an­other made signs with their hands in­di­cat­ing their de­sire for change

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