ANC is its own worst enemy

As much as the ANC managed to pull a historic landmark, where a seating president was defeated, this is a very rare phenomenon any where in the world, because cadres tend to be very afraid of state presidents, due to obvious reasons a case in point is Zimbabwe. However instead of the ANC consolidating its victories, it started creating its own problems, concerning bargaining deals it made prior and post Polokwane conference.
The following issues and many other critical issues have led to the demise of the movement. This document looks at those critical issues which are a challenge to the organisation under the following subheadings:

1. The composition of the National Executive Committee (NEC) and NWC.
2. Provincial, Regional conferences and branch meetings.


3. The Mangaung conference, Julius and the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL).
4. The Recalling of former President Thabo Mbeki as Head of State.
5. Western Cape.

6. Lastly.


More than 50% of its NEC members are new to the NEC or any structure of this nature, thus closing any room for continuity and transition; again most of them are juniors (post 1994 politicians) to the movement.



Yes we do agree change was obligatory but this is not an excuse for flooding its highest decision making body with political infants thus compromising and crippling vital and constructive nation building decisions. The majority of these characters were just parachuted to this committee without any research or consultation; others were rewarded with these high profile positions for the mere reason of lobbing certain constituencies.


Now the NEC has turned into a mere dialogue + – 20 individuals, and once again collective leadership has been compromised.

Lately provincial and regional conferences have turned into absolute war zones, where instead of marshals, armed policeman and soldiers must be deployed to guard it against its own members. Meeting doors are locked and gates are constantly patrolled and inside those premises it’s absolute turmoil and anarchism is the order of the day. There’s a growing trend of 2 lists for contestation of leadership positions, meaning the members go to every congress as a wounded and a divided organisation.



Lately factionalism has even manifested itself into its grassroots branch structures, ordinary rank and file members belong to certain factions, in actual fact a branch of + – 120 members has a “Zuma and a Mbeki camp, What is that?. Factions, cliques and cabals are surfacing ubiquitously. The organisation is forcing its members to defect to the opposition parties a case in point is Sello Moloto.  The accusations that the members are labeling against each other such as traitors awaiting to defect to COPE is playing right into COPE’s hands or rather strategy.  


The ANC leadership that is the top 3 NEC posts incumbents are confusing the public sending too many contradictory messages, competing for publicity trying to look good to the public (thanks to their future aspirations) instead of communicating with media through appropriate structures. These leaders are playing right into some media traps to make the organisation look like a circus. One wonders, what was the point of employing Jessie Duarte and her entourage of media people if the ANC is not going to use them. 
This is a crisis and it needs burning attention, leadership and direction.



We are not going to dwell too much on this one due to the following 3 reasons.
• The sensitivity of this issue
• Lack of research on our side
• Our huge respect for Comrade Jacob Zuma and Comrade Thabo Mbeki.

This was one of the most drastic decisions of the movement since 1912, and it will go down into history as the move that tremendously dented the once famous liberation movement. “O.R.”, ZK MATHEWS, Inkosi u JOHN LANGALIBALELE DUBE and other liberation stalwarts must be turning in their graves, let alone Iisithwalandwe UTATA UMANDELA.



What a mess! Procedural and behavioural flaws let alone the premature election of Julius Malema, who has been parachuted all the way from Cosas to the Limpopo Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) and lastly to its national structures.



The whole conference was in tatters, from dodgy branches to self deployed power hungry cadres with no branch mandates. Commissions were hijacked and all plenary sessions were ruled by anarchy. Sasco comrades were marginalised and branded as campus comrades and once again the vacuum of political education was evident. It’s not surprising that this circus was suspended.


Fair enough another event was scheduled but in order to maintain a status quo cadres resorted to yester year soccer tactics, where if a game was suspended in the 86th minute due to whatever reason, we schedule another date and play the remaining 4 minutes. The conference continued as if it were still in Bloemfontein. The issue of the flawed election was not even entertained, as for other blunders they were all swept under the carpet.



Crisis, Crisis, Crisis. JZ calls it an interesting Province, we disagree this is the ANC’s worst problematic, difficult and hostile province. The ANC has allowed this beautiful province to be managed in a Taxi association style.


Factions, cliques and cabals have manifested themselves in such a way that its members can’t even say one word in an ordinary branch meeting without being aligned with a certain faction. The organisation is being run by individuals, unfortunately ordinary masses align themselves with the organisation, not individuals, and in the absence of leadership and direction, they will easily vote for the opposition and the ANC’s loyal traditional followers would rather stay at home on election day.


Should the ANC lose this province, it will have no one to blame but itself. Considering the current developments it’s actually hand delivering the province to the opposition. A clear example is its recent blunder of failing to submit its candidates on time to the IEC for the upcoming by-elections.


The movement should clean its house quickly, before it turns what was once the greatest Liberation movement in Africa into a petty political party. History has thought us that, organisations and individuals who were once the nation’s greatest heroes and patriots can turn into our greatest villains for example Angola, DRC and most recently Zimbabwe. The ANC should not allow this to happen in its organisation.
It’s time it revisits the principles of its NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION (NDR) and not just preach them, practice them, review the strategy and tactics document and its fundamental guidelines.



It has also turned a blind eye into bread and butter issues such as macro economic policies, development finance, the Reconstruction and Development Program and other pro-poor policies that use to be the blueprint of the organisation.


Next year’s elections might look far way when in fact they are too close considering the current challenges the organisation is facing.


Co-authored by:

  1. Sipho January, Rhodes School of Journalism and Media Studies’ Schools Media Outreach Projects Coordinator and,
  2. Sikelela Zumana – Sasco’s former Education and transformation chair as well as fomer ANCYL’s Phahamang branch chairperson.


Both wrote this in their personal capacities.



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Filed under ANC succession scramble, Commentary, Politics

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