Can the ANC self-correct before losing elections? Can it be salvaged or is it too late in the day?
Kgalema Motlanthe, a former ANC deputy president and secretary-general, believes the ANC can only recover after it loses elections if it is to recover at all.
But is he correct? Are there any options for recovery short of losing power first?
When Dr Makhosi Khoza, the former ANC MP, resigned from the ANC, she declared she was leaving an “alien and corrupt ANC”.
Khoza was not leaving the mission of ANC, but the current organisation under President Jacob Zuma, who has broken virtually every rule in the ANC constitution but has not been disciplined.
This confirms the dominant current in ANC is little different to that of Zuma.
It is true the current ANC leadership is corrupt to the core.
This is why some see nothing wrong with what he is doing.
Does this mean that the oldest national political organisation in the continent can no longer recover?
Should the genuine members of ANC close shop? Is rescue remotely possible so late in the day?
Undergo serious transformation
The ANC is like a patient in ICU. To survive it is clear the ANC needs to take bitter medicine to recover. It has to undergo serious transformation.
More than 80% of the national executive committee, who are also cabinet ministers, are lieutenants or puppets of the Gupta family. They are employed by Zuma in the government, in the state and as members of national assembly.
It is useless complaining about the systemic dysfunction in the ANC and South Africa’s present political, economic, social, cultural and moral condition unless we can accurately identify its cause.
The ANC must acknowledge responsibility for this.
At the very centre the problem is the electoral system set in place in the country’s constitution by the ANC and the apartheid regime in their negotiations in 1993. It allows the ruling party’s leader to be the employer in government, in the state and in the national assembly.
This has ultimately resulted in the capture of the state by the Zuma-Gupta cabal.
For the ANC to self-correct, it has to undo all the threads that have allowed a situation of state capture to develop.
First it must spearhead the reform of the parliamentary laws. This means an end to deployment of MPs as puppets under the control of the puppet master.
There needs to be a major change, away from Soviet-type deployment of MPs to becoming a fully representative government in the hands of MPs who are accountable to the people, not to party headquarters.
The majority of the Electoral Task Team, chaired by Frederik van Zyl Slabbert, proposed in January 2003 that 75% of MPs should be elected through large multi-member constituencies and 25% be appointed through the current propor-tional representation system.
This change would give power to the people – that is, the voters – and shift it away from party headquarters.
Power would thus be removed from the minority in party headquarters to the majority of the people in their constituencies.
This would nullify and render worthless the capturing of party headquarters by tenderpreneurs because they would no longer be able to secure state power unchallenged.
We need a parliament composed of MPs of integrity such as Makhosi Khoza, who follow their own conscience and who actually listen to the wishes of their constituents, instead of one filled with the tame puppets of party headquarters, as is the case at present.
To achieve this, the parliamentary electoral laws must be changed through the legislature, so the country’s constitution can be amended to reflect the change from a 100% proportional representation to a system of multi-member constituencies, as called for by the Slabbert Commission in January 2003, but never acted on.
This can be done by developing a new mass democratic movement.
But it will face serious resistance from the Zuma-Gupta deployees in the ANC NEC and from the present ANC MPs – those feeding from the Zuma-Gupta trough.
ANC internal elections
A second important reform has to take place inside the ANC, one which reforms the internal elections for leadership.
This requires that the current elective conference format is changed to “one ANC member, one vote” for the election of all leaders.
Currently delegates to the elective conference are chosen on the average basis of one delegate for every 50 ANC branch members and two delegates for every 100 branch members. This works out to say 2% of ANC members are electing the leadership, excluding 98% of the members.
The 2% who attend the elective conference can easily be falsified through rigging by party bosses, and those who attend the elective conference are lobbied by tenderpreneurs and all sorts of crooks.
This is another form of minority government. Delegates are bribed with promises in order to vote for specific individuals on the party slate.
Most ANC members have never elected their president, secretary-general and treasurer-general throughout their membership, given the current ANC internal electoral law as covered in Rule 9 of the ANC constitution.
Revising Rule 9 of the ANC constitution and changing the rule so that ANC leaders are elected through a “one ANC member, one vote” system would go a long way towards democratising the ANC.
Changing the ANC internal electoral laws would not be easy, but it could be done by mobilising ANC members throughout the country in a new campaign of conscientisation of the people.
We need majority rule in the ANC. Instead of 2% electing leaders, we need 100% of members to elect the leaders.
Self-correcting can be done, but it is salvation via the cross. It requires revolutionaries of the new era of representative parliamentary democracy.
Omry Makgoale is a rank and file member of the ANC. These are his personal views