South Africa


‘If we do not evolve now, we are going to die’ – ANC Renewal Commissioner Fasiha Hassan endorses 40% youth representation in NEC

‘If we do not evolve now, we are going to die’ – ANC Renewal Commissioner Fasiha Hassan endorses 40% youth representation in NEC
Delegates at the ANC 6th National Policy Conference held at the 6th National Policy Conference of the African National Congress (ANC) held at Nasrec on 29 July 2022. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla/Daily Maverick)

The ANC’s Renewal Commission, set up earlier this year, has been sitting on Tuesdays to look at gaps that need to be filled to ensure that the weakened and vulnerable ANC is able to restore itself. Renewal Commission member Fasiha Hassan says it is important for young people to be at the forefront of renewal and that it should in no way alienate senior party members.

ANC youth task team member Fasiha Hassan is resolute that renewal will be impossible if young people are not given the opportunity to occupy leadership positions. 

Fasiha Hassan and Insaaf Isaacs comforted one another when a song remembering Jessie Duarte was played at the ANC 6th National Policy Conference held at Nasrec on 31 July 2022. Photo: Felix Dlangamandla/Dlangamandla/Daily Maverick

Hassan takes issue with the ANC rule which states that the minimum requirement for those looking to be voted into the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) should be in the party’s structures for at least 10 years. 

“How can it be that an organisation that wants to renew or says they want youth representation, has a rule which excludes us from running until we are 28, earliest?” she said. 

Read more in Daily Maverick:Step-aside resolution key part of ANC renewal – economic transformation head Mmamoloko Kubayi

She also articulated the ANC Youth League’s position after deliberations at the policy conference which seeks to have at least 40% of members who are under 35 in the NEC, the party’s highest decision-making structure between national conferences. 

“It is not only about putting young people who are not going to think differently, who are not going to challenge the status quo and are going to fall into the same tracks as our elders… I think there is a huge challenge in front of us which is both structural, but also about representation. 

“Any shift from the status quo is going to be uncomfortable, but no one is going to open up the way for young people, the reality is we are going to kick the door down. Like I keep saying, the elders can decide, do they want to open the door and leave it unlocked or do they want to put a brick behind it, but we are coming, with numbers and a force. We are at a watershed moment as the ANC and if we do not evolve now, we are going to die,” she said.

One suggestion the commission has been discussing is a survey where the party will interview supporters of the ANC and its detractors to get a better understanding of their views about the governing party.

“We are not only interviewing pro-ANC people, we are interviewing very critical people and we are interested in their views. We are actually going to embark on that process and put everything together. Then come up with something or else it is just an echo chamber,” she said. 

She went further to endorse the step-aside guidelines saying that it was one of the immediate steps that had been taken for the sake of the ANC’s renewal. 

“Fundamental to renewal is integrity; you cannot separate the two. If we are serious about renewal it means that we are going to prioritise and centre integrity, moral political practice, in our organisation. 

“A huge part of that at the moment is the step-aside rule. The rule is actually intended to allow a comrade in a questionable situation to voluntarily and actively step aside. We should not even have to ask you to do that.  All the other rules are retrospective but step-aside is proactive and should become an ordinary practice of the organisation, it doesn’t have to be for years,” according to Hassan. 

Nompendulo Mkhatshwa at the ANC 6th National Policy Conference held at Nasrec on 31 July 2022. Photo:Felix Dlangamandla/Dlangamandla/Daily Maverick

The party’s general manager, Febe Potgieter, gave a report back on discussions which had unfolded about renewal and shared some proposals from delegates. Stricter requirements for the membership application were not welcomed by some Free State members when they were initially introduced by former ANC president Thabo Mbeki

Quality of membership

“The second area of renewal has to do with how we ensure that the members and leadership that we have in the organisation represent the best in society. Constitutional amendments that are suggested, for example, are that we need to introduce in our December conference much stricter requirements for ANC membership. 

“For example, at the moment, if you pay R20 a year, you can join the ANC and there are no other requirements to join the ANC, which is what we want to do. And what they’re proposing is that we need to look at all sorts of different criteria that we need to vet all ANC members to make sure that they are not corrupt, that they do not have criminal records and all of those kinds of things. That is what… the commissions will be debating from tonight onwards. And then going back to our branches, leading up to the national conference because the national conference is the only one that can make constitutional amendments to the effect,” according to Potgieter. 

The ANC policy conference was on low energy throughout the weekend and by the end of president Cyril Ramaphosa’s speech, the cheers and chants in his support were nothing to write home about.

Perhaps it was because he announced that the overall view was that the step-aside rule be retained. This means that provinces such as the Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo were defeated in their quest to have the rule scrapped. 

“We have reaffirmed the resolutions of the 54th National Conference on corruption and State Capture. The overwhelming view of the policy conference is for the retention of the step-aside provisions to enhance the integrity of the movement and its leadership.

“The conference noted strong concerns on the perceived lack of consistency in the application and implementation of the policy. The conference agreed that these must receive urgent attention so that the application of the guidelines is impartial, fair and consistent,” the President said.

The National Policy Conference is, however, only consultative and a final decision will probably be taken at the party’s National Conference at the end of the year. DM 

The headline of this article was amended at 12.40pm on August 1, 2022 for accuracy


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Sheda Habib says:

    Age has nothing to do with it.
    An idiot is an idiot at any age.
    If the ANCYL cannot see that then I do not want ANY of them in the NEC either

  • Paddy Ross says:

    Please! Not more quotas. How about a competence quota if you insist on having them.

  • Malcolm McManus says:

    Well most people under 35 have been blessed with ANC rule for most of their lives. Rather than even bothering about the ANC, one would think they would be better off joining and voting for another more competent party. Or is our mind set much like the rest of Africa that requires us to blindly follow incompetent, thieving fools into oblivion for the rest of our lives?

  • Sam van Coller says:

    ANC needs to abolish the ten year rule

  • Rob Wilson says:

    Age on its own is a very dangerous determinant. Just because someone makes the legal age of consent 12 years old does not make that person an adult, nor does the age for obtaining a driver’s licence. Competence should be the measure, and that is actually seldom reached much before the later 20’s anyway. All young people think they have all the answers (we were all there once remember) but they all find out that they were not correct, and that life experiences make one wiser with each passing day.

    • Malcolm McManus says:

      Rob, you make very valid points. The big problem comes with the competency measure, and this normally would be significantly achieved by a combination of both experience and IQ. It is becoming clearer to me that the majority of South Africans are unable, or unwilling to learn from their experiences. After more than a quarter of a century suffering and significantly increased hardship, they still choose the same suffering time and time again. The increase in competency, just does not appear evident, and I still believe its a type of Stockholm syndrome. The brain gets conditioned to fear any other alternative.

  • Johan Buys says:

    I doubt the ANC youth could screw this all up any more than the ANC elders have. 30y olds probably have lower theft goals than 60y olds. Yes, this was a bad few weeks

  • David Bertram says:

    The suggestion of a country being run by an NEC which consisted of at least 40% of its members being under 35 beggars belief. Making it a quota just sends shivers down ones spine. If the ANC sees that as its renewal then the end is nigh for the ANC and then the trough will be handed over to the EFF.

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