South Africa

Mangaung: ANC to crackdown on party discipline

By Sipho Hlongwane 20 December 2012

ANC Gauteng provincial secretary David Makhura said on Wednesday night that recent court processes are helping the party refine its rules on discipline. He was speaking after the party’s various commissions concluded their discussions on organisational renewal at the ANC’s elective conference in Mangaung. By SIPHO HLONGWANE/NewsFire.

The commissions recommended that the ANC introduce a code of conduct for members. This comes after the party found that it needed to modify its constitution in order to ban certain conduct.

In the run-up to the national conference in Mangaung, the party faced legal challenges from members in the North West and Free State provinces following contentious provincial congresses. A Constitutional Court ruling invalidated the Free State provincial executive committee on the basis of its own rules. It stayed away from pronouncing on party internal processes as long as the rules were consistent with the constitution.

“One of the lessons we learned during the court process is that we live in a constitutional democracy, we realise [that we are governed by] the rules of the country,” Makhura said.

The ANC does not want its members to resort to court because its internal processes are exhaustive, but it will continue to improve them to remain in legal compliance.

Makhura said: “The best way to learn from this is that members should comply with the rule book.”

Previously, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe (http://www.timeslive.co.za/politics/2012/12/14/members-who-take-anc-to-court-expel-themselves-mantashe) said that members who take the ANC to court invite automatic expulsion. The party, following its discussions on Wednesday, has softened that stance whilst still looking to discourage its members from seeking relief outside the party.

At the policy conference, Makhura and other senior ANC leaders suggested that the party should institute ethics committees to act as an internal ombud. The commissions have accepted the idea, and is due to suggest that national and provincial committees to formed.

The new policy makes it difficult for expelled members like the former ANC Youth League president Julius Malema to get back into the party by relying on court rulings, as they would need to prove that the process by which they were expelled was unconstitutional. DM

Photo: ANC members sat through raise their accreditation in support of a national executive committee nomination from the floor of the Mangaung conference. Mangaung, Free State, South Africa, 18 Decemeber 2012. Photo Greg Nicolson/NewsFire

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