There is a real fear in the ANC that the ruling party could lose power in the general elections of 2024 should it continue on its current path of destruction.
Allegations of corruption against its leaders and members, loss of credibility due to bad performance in service delivery and the inability to attract young people puts the ANC at risk of losing power.
These frank admissions by the party are contained in its discussion documents prepared for the ANC national general council (NGC). The documents were released on Friday.
The party said it has conducted an honest reflection of itself and wants branches and provinces, when discussing the documents, to look into the possible reality of losing power.
ANC head of policy Jeff Radebe said in the worst-case scenario, one of the possibilities is that the party may become so weakened that it could be forced into coalition governments or moved to legislature opposition benches.
The other possibility, Radebe said, was that the ANC might still remain a leading force, but that “its unity of purpose, values and standing [is] compromised to such an extent that its very character as a people’s movement, a disciplined force of the left and agent for change, is a thing of the past”.
“And it veers between populism, reaction and conservatism, maintaining the status quo and presiding over a failed transition.”
Reviving youth support
Voters were also becoming sceptical that the ANC still had “good plans to create jobs and change the economy”, Radebe said.
Coupled with this, according to the discussion documents, was the party’s failure to attract young voters who were beginning to dominate the voter’s roll.
These are people who are under 35, vary greatly in terms of backgrounds, subscribe to identity politics, did not experience apartheid and have no “automatic loyalty” to the ANC for having fought for freedom.
The youth, according to the ANC, feels the ANC and its government is not taking young people seriously and is led by old people.
They also feel the ANC “is an organisation with corrupt patronage networks and gatekeeping”.
The papers call for the NGC to address issues directly affecting the youth such as the growing rate of unemployment, education, substance abuse and concerns about their future.
The NGC will also have to hold serious discussions about reviving the party’s youth wing, the ANC Youth League, “as an organising force for challenges faced by young people”, Radebe said.
To win the support of the youth, the ANC will have to govern effectively and with integrity and honesty.
At the NGC, which is proposed to be held in May 2021, 3,000 delegates will assess the party and government’s performance.
They are expected to reflect on many challenges including the corruption that has tainted the party, the type of leaders the party has, the struggling economy and declining support among other issues.
Reviewing leadership policy
The party also wants a review of “Through the Eye of the Needle”, a document guiding how ANC leaders are chosen.
While the document was designed to ensure the ANC choses its best cadres for leadership positions, the party admits it remains too easy for people to be elected as party leaders due to factionalism, among other issues.
These leaders, according to the documents, are not of a great calibre, and some are career politicians.
“The purpose of the review process is to redefine how we find the best cadres to lead us and remain a revolutionary vehicle to build a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society,” Radebe said.
In what they call the “sins of the incumbency”, the party believes being in power for too long is seemingly leading to taking people’s support for granted and has led to arrogance, nepotism and corruption.
“The organisation is in crisis and has difficult choices to make: either let the downward spiral continue until we hit rock-bottom, or take a sharp turn upwards and work towards a new beginning,” Radebe said in his overview of “Through the Eye of the Needle”.
The documents call for a discussion on changing the policy ” to reflect the kind of leaders the party needs.
The role of money in electing leaders must also be looked at, according to the documents, to determine what the party’s attitude should be towards this. – Timeslive.