Younger generation must revolt for ANC renewal to succeed

Columnist Mzukisi Makatse
Columnist Mzukisi Makatse

There is a general feeling in the country that the ANC has become an organisation of incorrigible thieves. Everywhere one goes these days, one hears the same refrain over and over again and in rhythmic regularity: ‘This ANC is very corrupt!’

People say this both to express their anger and despair, but also their feelings of betrayal by the ANC. For many of our black and African folk, the ANC is, and has always been, second nature as they have known no other movement except the ANC over the long years of struggle and sacrifice.

To now pronounce the ANC as a corrupt organisation is a difficult truth and a bitter pill to swallow for many. However, thus the current reality that many  South Africans now view the ANC as synonymous with corruption.

Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, corruption among the ANC leaders and some of its members has now grown to become a pandemic in itself

Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, corruption among the ANC leaders and some of its members has now grown to become a pandemic in itself.

There are many reasons that have led to corruption in the ANC and its attendant state of organisational paralysis. These have been ventilated in various ANC conference discussion documents since Nelson Mandela’s term as president of the ANC.

A number of resolutions were taken in this regard precisely to respond to the question - what is to be done to return the ANC to its founding mission and value system? Organisational renewal is a phrase that has become so popular  with the ANC membership.

The ANC veterans even took it further and suggested that the ANC needed to convene a Special Consultative Conference specifically dedicated to the renewal of the movement.

In his  tribute to to the last Rivonia trialist,  Andrew Mlangeni, former president Thabo Mbeki repeated this call for the ANC to convene a Special Consultative Conference to deal with the renewal of the party. But, while all these progressive suggestions are made, nothing seems to be change.

Naturally, there would be different perspectives on what organisational renewal of the ANC means, how it should be done, for what purpose and in whose interests it should be done. For some the renewal should ensure that they do not lose their seat at the high table, while others seek to gain a seat at the high table.

And there are those in the rank and file who seek a genuine renewal of the ANC to return it to its founding values.

Can the renewal of the ANC be achieved where there is no overall political consensus on the kind of renewal that the ANC needs?

It is clear that, where there is no common or overarching political consensus on the nature of the renewal required by the ANC, there can be no renewal to speak of. Unless everyone agrees on a clearly defined political line, the demise of the ANC will come sooner rather than later.

The  NEC has been turned into a debating society of counterbalanced factions that can only do more damage to the movement  and the country

Under the circumstances, I think the first thing to do towards the renewal of the ANC is for the younger generation of the ANC and other ordinary members to turn  against the current leadership.

That is the right thing to do because the current leadership is either actively involved in corruption or are complicit in corrupt activities. They are so compromised that the national executive (NEC) meetings have been reduced to  talk shows.

The  NEC has been turned into a debating society of counterbalanced factions that can only do more damage to the movement  and the country.

The younger generation of the ANC and other ordinary members must call on the current NEC to convene a Special Consultative Conference as suggested by the ANC veterans and top of the agenda must be the renewal.

At that envisaged conference the current NEC members must cede power to a task team to run the SCC. The  task team should be mainly composed of the younger generation,  ANC veterans and other upstanding members of our society whose moral authority is unquestionable.

It is time the younger generation save the the ANC from itself for the sake of our country. Looting of  the country’s resources by those in leadership must stop. These shameless looters have no interest whatsoever in the future of the ANC or the country.

It is for this reason that those who bear the brunt of this looting, the young and ordinary citizens, must take action if their future is to be secured.

It is clear that there will never be any meaningful change in the ANC if there is no fundamental rapture led by the younger generation from within. It is a necessity for this rapture to occur if we are to ensure a renewed ANC and a properly run country.

Because corruption is a symptom of a dysfunctional system of governance, it will be relatively easy to address this scourge when the country has  a properly functioning government.

If the younger generation in the ANC is interested in a truly renewed ANC, it has to, as it must, be prepared to draw a line in the sand and stop the rot now. This younger generation must also be fully prepared to disrupt and destroy the accumulation networks that have crystallised within the ANC.

Without destroying these accumulation networks in the ANC, the renewal we are yearning for will remain nothing more than a lofty idea on a piece of paper.

Mzukisi Makatse is an attorney and director of Makatse Attorneys. He is a member of the ANC and writes in his personal capacity.

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