The ANC has warned its branch members no “ill-discipline” will be tolerated, as the ruling party adopted guidelines for the selection of candidates for key local government elections next year.
With the 2016 local government elections looming, the ANC is having to focus on the state of the organisation.
This comes as the party’s leagues, the ANCWL and the ANCYL, have battled to hold elective conferences, while the party’s biggest region eThekwini in KwaZulu-Natal, and its Nelson Mandela Bay region in the Eastern Cape, have been hit by controversy.
The African National Congress held a two-day national executive committee meeting in Pretoria at the weekend where three reports were discussed – the political overview, the national working committee (NWC) report and the elections workshop report.
“Guidelines of the selection candidates for the 2016 general elections were discussed and adopted,” secretary general Gwede Mantashe told reporters in Johannesburg on Sunday.
“The NEC focused on the key principles which must guide candidate selection, read together with the ANC position of leadership selection.”
He said once candidates were selected, the party would introduce them to communities.
“It’s a policy decision of the ANC to test candidates in communities.
“Candidates must be tested in society. Society must have the right to say this candidate is not acceptable to the community,” he said.
During next year’s local government elections, the fight between political parties will be for control of the metros.
“Both the political report and the NWC considered the state of the organisation and made a call to strengthen ANC branches to be at the core of the work of all ANC structures,” Mantashe said.
“The ANC cannot continue to tolerate ill disipline at any level and all our members must shun divisive practices.”
Nelson Mandela Bay
The ANC’s top brass has also had to step in in the Nelson Mandela Bay region.
Mantashe said officials would be visiting the area on Monday.
This was not the first time top officials had visited Nelson Mandela Bay.
“When there is a problems in a region we go back,” he said.
Nelson Mandela Bay is an important metro in next year’s local government elections, with opposition parties such as the Democratic Alliance and Economic Freedom Fighters looking to take control of the region from the ANC.
Last month, President Jacob Zuma and his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa were in Port Elizabeth with other officials.
At the time speculation was rife that they were there to axe the municipality’s mayor, 83-year-old Benson Fihla.
However, at a press conference the ANC announced that there would be no reshuffling of Nelson Mandela Bay political deployments.
At the time, ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said Zuma had travelled to Nelson Mandela Bay to review the work of a 31-person task team that had been established to rebuild ANC structures in the region following the disbanding of the Regional Executive Committee last year December.
The ANC’s top officials have had to step in to sort out issues in eThekwini, which has been marred with controversy with the party failing to convene a successful conference.
Mantashe said the party’s national officials would be visiting the region on Tuesday.
The conference, which was scheduled to convene for the fourth time, was adjourned indefinitely early this month after disgruntled members, believed to be in Councillor Zandile Gumede’s faction, disrupted proceedings.
“We are dealing with eThekwini,” he said.
“In eThekwini it was a question of enforcing rules. Because we said you cannot argue politically to deal with the question of the requirement to comply with the provisions of the [ANC] constitution… Discipline can only be talked about in a rule based institution. That’s what we’re dealing with in eThekwini,” Mantashe said.
The first two sittings of the eThekwini conference were postponed and the third one, which was held in February, was declared null and void in March after aggrieved members disputed the outcome.
Besides problems with some of its regions, the ANC is also having to sort out problems within its leagues.
ANC Women’s League
The ANC Women’s League has had to postpone its elective conference numerous times.
The ANCWL has not been able to hold an elective conference since its last one in 2008.
The league was meant to hold its next one in 2013 but this has still not happened as it seems to be battling with factional infighting forcing the ANC to step in and try to sort out the problems.
Mantashe on Sunday denied that the problems were linked to a weakness in internal democracy in the party but rather said there was “too much internal democracy”.
“[This is] because we are continuously ensuring that nobody is deprived the right to be part of an ANC conference… when entitled to do so.
“So if it means delaying the national conference by a week or two, so be it.”
The party is holding its National General Council in October and needs all its structures to have held their elective conferences.
The ANCYL is expected to hold its elective conference next month. This almost two years since its leadership had been disbanded by the ANC and a national task team put in place.
Mantashe’s statement on the outcomes of the NEC meeting did not mention state power utility Eskom.
When he was asked whether it was discussed, Mantashe responded that it was an ongoing debate in the ANC.
Earlier this week, the ANC’s alliance partner’s were up in arms following reports that the governing party was looking at privatising parts of Eskom.
Head of the ANC’s Economic Transformation Committee Enoch Godongwana has reportedly said that the ruling party thinks Eskom should sell some equity to pension funds to improve its cash flow.
Mantashe said there was no policy for the privatisation of Eskom.
“What people are chasing is a debate within the ANC itself on whether we should not look into the China option,” he said.
“China has capitalised many of its state owned companies.”
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