Presidents of the ANC and the country should not be indebted to individuals
- David Ka-Ndyalvan
- 13 Sep 2017 12:56 (South Africa)
The African National Congress (ANC) leadership race is in full swing with the Secretary-General (SG) Gwede Mantashe agonising over the number of presidential candidates and the manner in which some have pronounced themselves able for the top job in violation of the ANC nomination process. The process was opened during the first week of September 2017 long after some of the presidential hopefuls had been paraded in structures that have no constitutional mandate to nominate any person for ANC leadership positions. Quite frankly, what is more agonising is that those doing the parading in complete disregard of the ANC constitution and its processes were senior members who are supposed to know better and be examples for our youth structures.
In expression of his disappointment to fellow comrades, the SG as cited in the City Press article (10 September 2017) titled Nkosazana Paves The Way For Zuma’s Exit, had this to say: “The last time we had this many candidates was in 1952. There were 10 candidates then. We cannot have that in 2017. Eight candidates, and all of them wanting to be president, is sick.
President Jacob Zuma has also lamented, when addressing ANC structures, the number of ANC members who raised their hands to replace him. Your guess is as good as mine as to whether Zuma has the same rationale and motivation as Mantashe to decry the number of presidential hopefuls or not.
All I know is that, as the leadership race intensifies with the apparent hardening of different views of who is best suited to take the ANC out of the self-inflicted electoral morass, especially between Cyril Ramaphosa and Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, it is highly possible that the two comrades (Mantashe and Zuma) decry the number of presidential hopefuls for different reasons which can make or break the ANC. It’s tough.
Mantashe delivering a speech during the OR Tambo lecture in Vosloorus in Ekurhuleni on 10 September 2017 urged branches to choose the leadership carefully and thoroughly interrogate the attributes of each candidate like nobody’s business as the life of the ANC depended on it. He characterised the December elective conference as a “life and death” opportunity for the ANC, depending on the calibre of leadership nominated by the branches. The critical essence of his message is that the soul of the ANC is now in the hands of the branches and their presidential preference would determine electoral fortunes in 2019 elections. And I must say, history will judge ANC branches very harshly, should they allow this prestigious heritage, the oldest liberation movement in the continent to die in their hands. The stakes are high, fellow branch members for the sake of the next generation.
But it would appear that while Mantashe and Zuma are concerned about the number of presidential hopefuls, protagonists, irrespective of the flawed manner in which some of the names were raised, seem to think that this is democracy at its best form which is allowed by the ANC constitution. Each one of the presidential hopefuls, think that they can do better to take the ANC out of its misery and bring back the former glory. Unfortunately for them, the ANC Constitution prohibits self-appraisals for leadership positions and leaves this function largely to the branches, the most basic units of the organization. And branches should not mortgage this responsibility in exchange for a dirty money from the ANC parasites as the life of the ANC depends on it.
The current challenges facing our movement are well known and are succinctly diagnosed in Gwede Mantashe’s diagnostic report which was presented to the branch delegates during the 5th ANC National Policy Conference at Nasrec Expo Centre, Johannesburg. Therefore, the best leadership collective should not be compromised to deal with individual weaknesses within the movement such as corruption, factionalism and abuse of power which are now appear to be synonymous to the ANC. All the allegations of corruption implicating ANC senior comrades who may have an interest to form part of the leadership collective are extensively contained in the Public Protector’s State Capture report and #GuptaLeaks. It is within this context that any delay to the investigation and finalisation of these allegations would in a way disadvantage and rob the branches of the critical information to decide on a credible leadership for the elective conference.
The required process by the ANC policy document Through the Eye of a Needle to thoroughly interrogate the attributes of each candidate, state capture and #GuptaLeaks investigations provide conclusive findings becomes a matter of urgency to enable the branches to do their primary task of saving the ANC from a corruption cartel. Thus, it is my well-considered view that the secretary general and the president of the ANC should not be worried about the number of the presidential hopefuls, this is their constitutional right, but rather should be worried about the critical information the branches might miss during the nomination process due to delays on state capture and #GuptaLeaks investigations, if they want to save the ANC.
These hanging clouds might come back and haunt the ANC ahead of the 2019 national elections should the implicated comrades emerge victorious in the elective conference. Remember how 783 charges of corruption, fraud and racketeering have haunted Zuma and the ANC post Polokwane to date. And we are now on the brink of losing power as we are sitting at 54%, which was an unimaginable figure when we humiliated the opposition parties by 69.69% in the 2004 national elections.
It would have been ideal and in the best interest of the ANC had the Commission of Inquiry on State Capture long been established with a view to providing conclusive findings before the start of the nomination process. The same applies to #GuptaLeaks. Furthermore, it would also be ideal to turn the spotlight on to the campaigners of the presidential hopefuls; some of them are prepared to resort to smear campaigns in a desperate bid to discredit any political threat. This has started to rear its ugly head against Ramaphosa whose private life was dragged to the public domain allegedly by state institutions to settle political scores.
The reaction from most of the presidential candidates against smear campaigns is commendable and should be encouraged. I hope all of them will continue to condemn smear campaigns whenever they show the ugly head and distance themselves from the champions and sponsors of dirty tricks if they know what is good for the ANC and the country. The champions and sponsors of smear campaigns would always develop a sense of entitlement to the resources of the state and expect a return of favour at all costs should their beneficiary emerge victorious as the president of the ANC and that of the republic.
We do not want a president who is indebted to individuals rather than the ANC and the country. DM
David Vakalisa Ka-Ndyalvan is an ANC member at Akaso Branch and he writes in his personal capacity.