Opinionista Omry Makgoale 28 June 2018

Can Professor Mokgoro save the ANC in North West?

The principle of one ANC member, one vote is the only one on which to elect party members fairly and defeat the politics of slates and its often dire consequences.

Roughly a month since the departure of Supra Mahumapelo into partial retirement as premier of North West, the slates in the ANC found what they considered a compromise candidate: Professor Tebogo Job Mokgoro. He was not the preferred candidate for either slate.

Mahumapelo preferred his deputy, Wendy Nelson, or the Speaker of the provincial assembly, SR Dantjie. The North West SACP and Cosatu preferred an MK veteran, Zakes Tolo.

The stalemate between these two antagonistic slates lasted a month. It was the threat of the provincial assembly being dissolved that scared the Mahumapelo slate, aware that they had to agree on a compromise candidate because of the likelihood that early provincial elections under these
circumstances would not be favourable to the ANC.

The voters in North West have never been so unhappy with the ANC. So it was life and death to find a compromise and avoid premature provincial elections.

This is how Mokgoro was seen as unlikely saviour.

In fact, Mokgoro was appointed by Luthuli House and represents the interests of Luthuli House. He was not elected by the ANC members in North West as the main stakeholders, nor was he elected by the voters in the province. He is an appointee of the party headquarters as per our current parliamentary electoral laws, and represents the Ramaphosa presidency. Whatever his qualities, there is not even the pretence of
democracy to it.

As the former North West acting director-general, Mokgoro the civil servant has seen it all. He knows most of the problems in North West, but can he solve them? What is his mission only one year before general elections? What can he achieve in less than a year?

Among his other functions, he administered the distribution of New Age, a Gupta-owned newspaper, when he was acting director-general. Could he have been one of the Guptas ‘former deployees? We hope not.

All members of the executive committee in North West from Zuma’s reign are covered with a cloud of corruption, poor administration and incompetence as civil servants that would make the late Luckas Mangope from the Bantustan era proud of his achievements.

Infrastructure is in tatters, and the roads that were built by Mangope under apartheid are poorly maintained, with potholes all over the place.

Does this mean Mangope maintained the infrastructure of Bophuthatswana better than the ANC government has? Or did the ANC just appoint the most corrupt and incompetent to administer the province as an accident?

As it is, whichever way, Mokgoro has a near impossible task to root out corruption and incompetence in the provincial ministries and municipalities in less than a year. He cannot achieve it by any stretch of the imagination. According to the auditor-general’s report, all municipalities in the province failed to produce a clean audit. So what can poor Mokgoro do except try to lull the feelings of North West voters and hope they will still be loyal to the ANC in the 2019 general elections. But can the province’s voters be duped? Only heaven knows.

With regard to the ANC structures in North West, they are still in the clutches of Mahumapelo. Can the ANC recover in North West? Maybe yes, if the voters think Ramaphosa will override the bad in the province after the general elections next year. But it might take more than trust in a single individual in the form of Ramaphosa to turn the tide.

As it is, court actions across the country against the results in ANC provincial elective conferences are a protest action against rampant vote-rigging in the ANC which has characterised most elective conferences in the past 20 years.

Overall, salvation for the ANC can only lie in more and better democracy.

Instead of the failed system of branch elections of delegates, which has shown itself as wide open to bribery, gate-keeping, vote-rigging and murder, a new system of one ANC member, one vote for electing provincial leaders from provincial chairperson to branch chairperson is the only secure answer.

This is the solution for establishing internal democracy inside ANC.

There is no other way of addressing the recurrence of of court actions against ANC elective conferences.

One ANC member, one vote for elections of all leaders inside the ANC is the only way out.

We challenge anyone to provide a better solution. Please, make your case! DM

Omry Makgoale is a rank and file member of the ANC. These are his personal views.

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