ANC POLICY CONFERENCE
Be more accountable for poor governance, Ramaphosa tells delegates
‘Less slogans and more solutions’ is the message from ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa’s opening speech at the party’s national policy conference. Ramaphosa used his speech to highlight the ANC’s flaws, saying it was time for the party to take accountability for poor governance in municipalities. He also spoke against factionalism within the ranks.
Municipalities are still the sphere of government where the state is at its weakest. So said ANC president, Cyril Ramaphosa as he was addressing delegates representing all nine provinces on Friday morning in Nasrec, Johannesburg, where the party is hosting its national policy conference.
The ANC’s support at local government level has declined over the years, which led to the formation of coalition governments. However, Ramaphosa believes that coalition governments are ill-suited to effectively drive development, provide quality services or ensure proper accountability, an indicator that the ANC is better off working on its own.
“Five years ago, in June 2017, eight municipalities were under the administration of the national or provincial government. By June 2021, 23 municipalities were under administration, and by February 2022, this number had further increased to 33 municipalities. As we have recognised before, many of these challenges arise from poor management of the political-administrative interface. There is weak oversight, poor accountability and inadequate consequence management systems.
“There is a shortage of skilled leadership and management, and widespread fraud and corruption. This situation has contributed to declining levels of voter participation in elections and diminishing support for the ANC. This resulted in the loss of several key municipalities in last year’s local elections and the emergence of coalition governments in several places,” he said.
Ramaphosa attributed the weaknesses within government to the divisions within the party and called the organisation its “most weakest and vulnerable since the advent of democracy”. He said the divisions were not caused by differences in ideology, but the competition for positions in structures and the pursuit of access to public resources.
“We can see how our divisions have weakened governance in many areas, undermined public institutions and hampered the maintenance of infrastructure and the provision of services,” he said.
Ramaphosa: “We are a divided movement, these are not divisions because of difference in ideologies. These divisions are because of competition for leadership positions.” #ANCPolicyConference
— Queenin Masuabi (@Queenin_M) July 29, 2022
The ANC president said the party’s weaknesses were reflected in many of the party’s lower structures, which are usually not involved in community work and are only activated for the purpose of electing delegates for conferences or nominating candidates for public office.
“Our weaknesses are evident in the distance between our public representatives and the people they are meant to serve. Perhaps most strikingly, our weaknesses are evident in the divisions within our ranks. These divisions manifest themselves in patronage, gatekeeping, vote-buying and manipulation of organisational processes. These divisions are driven by corruption and the need by those responsible for corruption to avoid detection and accountability.
Despite this, Ramaphosa still has hope that the ANC will be able to renew itself.
“The ANC is showing signs of renewal and we are continuing to forge unity around several issues. We have been able to make progress around the process of organisational rebuilding, where our branches were able to hold BGMs in the midst of the pandemic and undertake campaigns in communities,” he said.
Ramaphosa’s stance was that the three-day conference should be a “festival of ideas”– where delegates will look at ways in which issues facing South Africans can be dealt with.
The party is expected to discuss key policy, focusing on the economy, peace and stability, arts and culture, among other issues.
SA Comunist Party general secretary Solly Mapaila says that South Africa should be looking at building its state- owned entities instead of destroying them. #ANCNPC2022
— Queenin Masuabi (@Queenin_M) July 29, 2022
The party ‘s step-aside guidelines are expected to take centre stage. The ANC has been divided on this rule, with some saying it should be scrapped.
The resolution has caused much controversy in the party since it was formally introduced last year, with Secretary-General Ace Magashule as one of its first casualties. He refused to step aside and had to be suspended from his position.
However, the National Policy Conference is only consultative. A final decision on the matter will probably be taken at the party’s national policy conference at the end of the year.
Discussions around state-owned enterprises will also be a big talking point, with the ANC alliance partner, the South African Communist Party, being opposed to the selling off of these companies. DM