Proposals ranging from the really radical to the totally bizarre will be put before the ANC national conference in Mangaung in December – as if that meeting will not have hot enough issues on its agenda. The ANC wants to rid itself of incompetence and corruption, but it also wants to start selling ANC-produced goods. Potential “tenderpreneurs” may also have run out of luck. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
The ANC is planning to give itself a major makeover to deal with incompetence in its ranks and to cleanse its image as a party that protects corrupt members. The national policy conference in Midrand has recommended that members under investigation should immediately step aside from public positions and no longer be able to use the “innocent until proven guilty” excuse.
There would be no more “ducking and diving” when ANC members are faced with serious accusations. These members would be asked by the ANC to immediately relinquish their positions.
The ANC policy conference has also decided to reduce the size of the powerful national executive committee from 86 to 60 members, in order to make the committee more efficient. In order to serve on the NEC, candidates have to have been members of the ANC for over 10 years.
The conference accepted a proposal by the commission dealing with “organisational renewal” to declare the next 10 years the “decade of a cadre” when they will go on a major drive to train, raise levels of competence and skills and instil ethical conduct among ANC members. The recommendations will be proposed to the ANC national conference in Mangaung for final adoption.
Gauteng provincial secretary David Makhura, who presents the commission’s report to the policy conference plenary, told the media that the ANC wanted its members to have integrity, appropriate competence and skills, as well as the “right attitude and ethical orientation”.
In order to achieve this, the ANC was planning to “train its cadres in a way not done in the past 18 years”. It would set up a “political school system” which would have national, provincial and regional academies of training. The ANC also wants to “eradicate illiteracy” and raise the level of education among its members. “People will be under pressure to learn,” Makhura said.
If the recommendations were accepted in December, the ANC would also set up a “monitoring and evaluation” system to assess the performance of its members. And it will now be difficult to become an ANC member, with new recruits having to undergo a six-month probation period, during which time they will be expected to undergo compulsory political training and conduct community work.
Makhura says this is to stop the tendency for people to use ANC membership as a gateway to score tenders and have access to power. In order to reduce the ANC dependence in business, the ANC wants to produce and sell goods and services to raise funds and contribute to job creation. It is not yet known what goods and services it would sell. ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu joked that this could see the party making and selling ANC cars.
There should be no conflict of interest between the ANC’s business entities, including its investment arms, and the state, Makhura said.
Also part of the drive to increase revenue is an increase of the ANC’s annual membership fees from R12 a year to R20. ANC members would be expected to contribute to the ANC through a method similar to the tithe system used by churches. The party has further recommended that political party funding generally be regulated.
While the policy conference has set clearer guidelines around campaigning for elections, such as the screening of candidates, delegates still rejected American-style primaries where candidates “sell” themselves to ANC structures. DM
Photo: Fikile Mbalula and David Makhura take notes as they report back on the organisational renewal commission. They're sending ANC members back to school, they said. (Greg Nicolson/iMaverick)