ANC mulls rad­i­cal over­haul amid frac­ture fears

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

The ANC could launch into a rad­i­cal over­haul of some of its crit­i­cal struc­tures af­ter its De­cem­ber elec­tive con­fer­ence if a num­ber of pro­posed con­sti­tu­tional amend­ments sent to branches for dis­cus­sion are ac­cepted.

In a 21-page dis­cus­sion doc­u­ment, the party frankly ad­mits that it could frac­ture be­cause of per­vad­ing in­ter­nal mis­trust and that it could have lost the trust and con­fi­dence of South Africans in gen­eral.

Al­though the amend­ments in­di­cate the need for dra­matic in­ter­ven­tions from the very top of the or­gan­i­sa­tion to the bot­tom, it ne­glects to tackle is­sues around cor­rup­tion, state cap­ture and rent-seek­ing and in­stead seeks to cre­ate new bu­reau­cratic levers to en­sure com­mand and con­trol. Some of the pro­posed amend­ments:

The en­large­ment of the so-called top six of­fi­cials to a top 14, which in­cludes an ex­tra deputy president, two ex­tra deputy sec­re­taries-gen­eral and five per­ma­nent chair­per­sons of sub­com­mit­tees of the Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee (NEC).

The scrap­ping of the na­tional work­ing com­mit­tee with the top 14 tak­ing over the day-to-day func­tion­ing of the party as a sec­re­tar­iat or work­ing com­mit­tee.

The re­duc­tion of the NEC from 80 elected mem­bers to 60.

The con­sti­tu­tional en­trench­ment of the in­tegrity com­mis­sion.

The ap­point­ment of an elec­toral com­mis­sion to man­age suc­ces­sion pol­i­tics as well as the es­tab­lish­ment of a na­tional dis­pute res­o­lu­tion com­mit­tee and an ap­peals body.

Ac­cord­ing to the doc­u­ment, the ANC needs to un­der­stand how it must achieve its stated ob­jec­tives amid the chal­lenges posed by “other po­lit­i­cal ac­tors and the neg­a­tively wired me­dia”. It also warns that the party should place a pre­mium on the val­ues and char­ac­ter of as­pi­rant lead­ers in a highly con­tested po­lit­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment.

The party frankly ad­mits that it could frac­ture be­cause of per­vad­ing in­ter­nal mis­trust and that it could have lost the trust and con­fi­dence of South Africans in gen­eral.

“Com­pe­ti­tion for power also car­ries the corol­lary that elec­tion out­comes are not read­ily ac­cepted on the ground that re­sults were ma­nip­u­lated. This cre­ates an en­vi­ron­ment of mis­trust and could frac­ture the or­gan­i­sa­tion,” the doc­u­ment reads.

The party is also deeply con­cerned about ger­ry­man­der­ing at lo­cal and provin­cial level, say­ing that dis­puted elec­tion out­comes of­ten end up in court be­cause del­e­gates are de­nied ac­cess to elec­tive con­fer­ences, flawed au­dit­ing pro­cesses and bias. “If left unat­tended, th­ese dis­putes not only spill over into the courts, but also cre­ate the per­cep­tion of a frag­mented or­gan­i­sa­tion and could lead to break­aways,” the party says.

Strong em­pha­sis is placed on the role and func­tion of branches as well as the pow­ers of provin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tees to re­solve dis­putes by dis­band­ing or sus­pend­ing branches.

Th­ese dis­putes . . . also cre­ate the per­cep­tion of a frag­mented or­gan­i­sa­tion and could lead to break­aways.

The doc­u­ment refers to branches as “the cru­cible of democ­racy” and ar­gues that branches have be­come dis­con­nected from the peo­ple.

Ac­cord­ing to the pro­posed amend­ments, branches will in fu­ture have to get in­volved in so­cial is­sues on grass­roots level and en­gage with ward coun­cil­lors. This will be mon­i­tored by re­gional and provin­cial struc­tures to en­sure com­pli­ance. Provin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tees could also re­ceive ex­pan­sive pow­ers to dis­band re­gional and branch struc­tures re­port­ing to it.

Gwede Man­tashe, the party’s sec­re­tary-gen­eral, says in a cov­er­ing let­ter the doc­u­ment is in its ninth it­er­a­tion and that all com­ments and responses to the amend­ments need to reach his of­fice by Novem­ber 15.

Mean­while, there is a grow­ing risk of a post­pone­ment of the De­cem­ber 2017 ANC lead­er­ship elec­tion and this could be a sig­nif­i­cant neg­a­tive event South Africa’s rat­ings out­look, con­fi­dence in the coun­try and the rand.

This is the view ex­pressed on Tues­day by Gina Schoe­man of Citi Re­search. “We ex­pect pol­i­tics to be­come even more volatile from here on — neg­a­tive cam­paign­ing is al­ready un­der way, as are acts of vi­o­lence (in prov­inces),” said Schoe­man.

She was com­ment­ing af­ter the the Pi­eter­mar­itzburg High Court on Tues­day de­clared the 2015 KwaZulu Natal (KZN) provin­cial ANC elec­tion of Sihle Zikalala as provin­cial chair null and void. Zikalala is al­lied to Zuma, mak­ing the rul­ing sig­nif­i­cant, in Schoe­man’s view.

“De­cem­ber is still a long way off and we have our doubts that President Ja­cob Zuma will ac­cept the po­ten­tial out­comes from a rul­ing that so ob­vi­ously favours a Ramaphosa-win,” she said.

KZN has the big­gest ANC mem­ber­ship of all nine prov­inces and is cur­rently split in two be­tween Zikalala (who sup­ports Zuma and, there­fore, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma), ver­sus Senzo Mchunu (ousted by Zikalala in the 2015 provin­cial elec­tion) who sup­ports Cyril Ramaphosa.

“The court rul­ing means the bal­ance of power in KZN could now flip to pro-Ramaphosa. The ANC is study­ing the judg­ment and will make de­ci­sions soon,” said Schoe­man.

About 70 per­cent of ANC branches must pass au­dits for the Na­tional Con­fer­ence in De­cem­ber to go ahead. To date, branch au­dits have been com­pleted for 6 of the 9 prov­inces (Gaut­eng, Mpumalanga, Lim­popo, North West, Free State and North­ern Cape).

The Eastern Cape, Western Cape and KZN au­dits are un­der way.

On pass­ing its au­dit, a branch then nom­i­nates branch del­e­gates to at­tend the Na­tional Con­fer­ence. The pre­lim­i­nary cre­den­tials list for De­cem­ber shows 2 454 branch del­e­gates plus an ad­di­tional 271 in­di­vid­u­als from the Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee (NEC) of 86, In­tegrity Com­mit­tee (11), ANC Youth League (64), ANC Women’s League (64) and min­is­ters or deputy min­is­ters (46).

“Th­ese num­bers are not fi­nal, but high­light how im­por­tant branches are. Of the 2 454 branch votes, KZN rep­re­sents 524 del­e­gates (21%) fol­lowed by the Eastern Cape’s 398 (16%) and Mpumalanga’s 304 (12%),” said Schoe­man.

“If the ANC de­cides that Zikalala must step down and be re­placed by Mchunu, this im­plies an­other 21% of the branch vote in favour of Ramaphosa. The Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga have al­ready openly de­clared their sup­port for Ramaphosa.

“In to­tal this could mean 50% of branches favour Ramaphosa, which ties in with the find­ings in our Septem­ber po­lit­i­cal sur­vey that Ramaphosa is cur­rently lead­ing the suc­ces­sion race.” — AFP

ANC sup­port­ers dur­ing the mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion cam­paign in 2016. The party fears that in­ter­nal di­vi­sions might “frac­ture” the party and dis­putes around in­ter­nal elec­tions could cause more break­aways

Kim Jong-un

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