A radical proposal for ANC members to vote directly for the party president was raised at the ANC Eastern Cape provincial consultive conference in East London yesterday.
The proposal will be among central discussion points to be taken to the party’s provincial policy conference in Mthatha next weekend.
The proposal first came into the spotlight on Friday when provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane raised it at the Solomon Mahlangu Memorial Lecture in Duncan Village.
Instead of the current system where about 5000 delegates elect national party leaders, Mabuyane said the party’s one million members should be allowed to vote for who gets to lead them.
This, according to him, will ultimately kill slate politics and patronage in the governing party.
Should the ANC in the province make it an official resolution, the party in the Eastern Cape will head to the national policy conference later this month in Johannesburg with what could set the ANC on a new trajectory.
“I have a strong belief that to fight factionalism, careerism and manipulation of membership in the ANC, in the policy conference we must engage other provinces that all audited ANC members be allowed to go to polling stations [set up in all party branches] to vote for who becomes leader of the ANC,” Mabuyane said on Friday.
“If you open the election process to all members in good standing it is going to help us deal with some of the malaise that the ANC is currently suffering from, like manipulating of membership and buying of votes by factions,” he added yesterday.
“Also, it will make leadership know that it is accountable to the masses and by that we do not mean conference delegates or branch executive committees, but we talk about the membership as a whole in the ANC.”
The proposal was among others at the two-day gathering in East London City Hall set to be further ventilated over the weekend at the provincial general council.
Among other things that stole the spotlight at the consultative conference was poor cadre quality and cadre deployment, moral decay, factionalism, corruption, the bloated size of the ANC NEC and state capture.
Reporting back to the plenary session yesterday, one of the commission chairmen, and also a PEC member, Gregory Brown, said their commission proposed cuts to the party’s highest decision-making structure.
Brown said the proposal was that the present NEC of 86 members plus 18 ex-officio members for a total of 104 should be cut to 66 or even 30.
Brown said their commission believed the ANC NEC in its current form was bloated and needed to be reduced to be “more effective”.
The commission also suggested there was a need to review ANC cadre deployment policy which, among other things, they accused of being “unreasonable” in its current form.
Featuring prominently was the proposed commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture, with the view that it should not be limited to the Guptas, as “we were captured long before 1994” according to Xolile Mini.
Mini, son of ANC anti-apartheid activist Vuyisile Mini who was executed by the apartheid regime, also took a swipe at the minimal contribution to the gathering by SACP and Cosatu, while they made “the most public noise” about ANC affairs.
The two tripartite alliance partners have called on Zuma to step down as head of state.
Provincial ANC chairman and premier Phumulo Masualle described the conference as successful and historic.
“Much as this gathering looks small, it is big in what it seeks to achieve as it shows that we are committed to a programme of action going forward.” — firstname.lastname@example.org