ANC now a jobs cen­tre, not a po­lit­i­cal party

The Star Early Edition - - INTERNATIONAL - Janho En­gel­brecht

YEARS from now, we will be able to see that the ma­jor con­tribut­ing fac­tor in the demise of the ANC was the pa­tron­age sys­tem it had built up which could not be sus­tained.

Cur­rently, the hand­out of ten­ders to the party loyal, mak­ing sure only party mem­bers get Ex­panded Public Works Pro­gramme (EPWP) jobs and cosy ad­min­is­tra­tive po­si­tions for branch chairs in mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, has re­sulted in the col­lapse of its branch struc­tures.

The ba­sic build­ing block of any po­lit­i­cal party is its branches. It is they that can­vass votes, work at vot­ing sta­tions and en­gage in po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties on the ground.

With­out ac­tive branches, a po­lit­i­cal party is dead.

Par­ties are re­liant on the vol­un­teers who work for them with­out get­ting paid.

The ANC tried, with ini­tial suc­cess, to change this sys­tem by giv­ing municipal jobs to their branch chairs.

They then took this one step fur­ther, and gave the re­spon­si­bil­ity of fill­ing po­si­tions for projects in wards to ward coun­cil­lors, as well as the ap­point­ment of com­mu­nity li­ai­son of­fi­cers for these projects.

Thus, a pa­tron­age net­work was es­tab­lished which would en­sure con­tin­ued sup­port for the party, or so they thought.

This re­sulted in the na­ture of ANC branches chang­ing.

From a vol­un­teer-based struc­ture, bound by a com­mon be­lief in the val­ues of the ANC, to a spring­board for get­ting a job no mat­ter what skills set a mem­ber pos­sessed.

Nat­u­rally, this led to in­fight­ing. Fights of­ten break out at branch AGMs be­cause branch ex­ec­u­tives would be first in line for jobs. In some in­stances, these fights would have fa­tal con­se­quences.

The val­ues and prin­ci­pals of the party no longer guided struc­tures, it be­came an em­ploy­ment agency.

Thus the ANC lost its abil­ity to or­gan­ise po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties on the ground be­cause those who did not get a job then re­fused to do any­thing.

In mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties where the DA took of­fice af­ter the Au­gust 2016 elections, some of these ANC pa­tron­age net­works still ex­isted, but are in the process of be­ing dis­man­tled.

All DA-led gov­ern­ments are in the fi­nal stages of rewrit­ing their EPWP poli­cies, based on the prin­ci­ples of fair­ness, trans­parency and equal­ity.

The cru­cial dif­fer­ence in the DA’s pol­icy frame­work is that public rep­re­sen­ta­tives will have no say in the com­po­si­tion of the work­force re­spon­si­ble for EPWP pro­grammes in their ar­eas.

All pub­li­ca­tions, data bases and ap­pli­ca­tions will be han­dled ad­min­is­tra­tively and any po­lit­i­cal in­flu­ences in the se­lec­tion process will be ex­cluded.

The trans­parency and the demon­stra­ble lack of po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence will re-es­tab­lish faith in the process.

Fair­ness, in­her­ent in our pro­cesses where we gov­ern, pro­vides a bet­ter chance of em­ploy­ment to far more ap­pli­cants.

In DA-led gov­ern­ments any­one, no mat­ter what po­lit­i­cal party they be­long to, will have an equal chance to get an EPWP job.

Gone are the days of job­s­for-pals, this is the era of a truly open op­por­tu­nity so­ci­ety for all. DA Gauteng spokesper­son for in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment

WORK­ERS: DA leader Mmusi Maimane, Premier He­len Zille, Mayor Pa­tri­cia de Lille, and MEC for Hu­man Set­tle­ments Bonginkosi Madik­izela at an EPWP in Kens­ing­ton.

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