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Statement on organisational renewal and design document delivered by the Chairperson of Nec Subcommittee on Organisational Development, Comrade Fikile Mbalula, to the 05th National Policy Conference

2 July 2017

The National Policy Conference (NPC) is a structural convocation of the African National Congress (ANC) whose principal aims are to take the ANC in to a 'garage for service maintenance' so to say. The intention is to oil the ANC so that it operates its engines and other components optimally.

We do this under the NPC so that all that pre-occupy us is only policy architecture of the organization and nothing else. Here we do not deal with issues of personalities in succession but succession management policy. So we discuss the how not who.

The role of the NPC is that of an official policy advisory congress of the branches of the ANC - advise of which gets to be accepted or not accepted by our Elective National Conference with the next one happening in December this year, 2017. The advise we come up with has to be cogent and compelling, well thought and frankly debated in an open environment set up. After plenary sessions, each delegate may speak if they so which and contribute in how the ANC should be and not to be.

This is where we introspect. Our final reports to the branches will be by the branches. The report recommendations are not binding, just recommendations that must be taken extremely seriously.

On Organizational Renewal and Organizational Design, the scene we went out to introduce was first and foremost the question of knowing what we are, who we are and where we come from.

We believe you first have to know who you are before you can begin to renew and redesign - there must be an accurate understanding of self first.

This therefore includes looking at own policies of the past and at the genesis of the ANC to its middle age and up to here.

We constructed the scene by from consideration and consultation of the following primary sources:

  •  53rd conference resolutions and papers on Organisational Renewal,
  • Previous National General Council (NGC) Reports especially 2015 reports
  • The Organisational Building and Mass Mobilisation Workshop Reports held on the 19th-20th November 2016.
  • discussion paper on Organisational Renewal is a preliminary construction emanating from consideration and consultation of the following primary sources:
  • 53rd conference resolutions and papers on Organisational Renewal,
  • Previous National General Council (NGC) Reports especially 2015 reports
  • The Organisational Building and Mass Mobilisation Workshop Reports held on the 19th-20th November 2016.

We are taught by one of our character reservoir our forebear that:

"Every organisation engaged in national liberation constantly has to isolate, analyse and search for solutions crucial both to its continued existence and growth, and to the success of the struggle as a whole...In a certain sense, the story of our struggle is a story of problems arising and problems being overcome." Walter Sisulu, Reflections in Prison, 1976

2. OPEN DISCUSSION AND OPEN DEBATE PROVOCATION ON ORGANISATIONAL RENEWAL

In our presentation we wanted to achieve open discussion, open debate and thought provoking tease. For there to be an open debate there must be deliberate openness, frankness - no holes barred approach from the scene setter in this case myself as the convenor of OROD.

3. SITUATIONAL ANALYSIS

The ANC is the oldest liberation movement and political party in Africa that is still in existence. We possess a wealth of generational information and history that remains relevant to this day because the material conditions that led to the ANC formation in terms of socio-economics remain the same if not worse in other places.

In the past six decades at least, in President Oliver Reginald Tambo because of his rare leadership we inherited a reservoir of political analysis within and without - inward and outward.
We visited this reservoir and sharply raised issues at the NPC displaying that the ANC has been there and done that before - as a living organization we find that we will have challenges and crises which are a normality in the cause of natural political circumstances. Where a difference is, is that we are now in government and are given a mandate by our people to perform that which we manifested, and perform such successfully, honestly, fairly, with integrity and honour.

The central thesis of our analysis is that the subjective weaknesses of our movement are not unrelated to the influence of a neo-liberal ideological paradigm. The cumulative impact of all these weaknesses is the silent shift from transformative politics to palace politics wherein internal strife and factional battles over power and resources define the political life of the movement. In the South African context, neo-liberalism sought to weaken both the ANC's progressive outlook and the capacity of the developmental state to carry out a thoroughgoing transformation agenda.

4. THE DANGERS AND ORGANISATIONAL SHORTCOMINGS

Having accepted that neo-liberalism politics the weakened ANC, objective conditions of a neo-liberalized democracy and incumbency have given birth to new subjective weaknesses on the part of the ANC as the leader of the state and society in general.

  • demobilisation of the masses
  •  corruption and sins of incumbency
  • institutionalized factionalism
  •  ill-discipline and disunity fuelled and inspired by the battles over the control of state power and resources
  • the danger of using state institutions to settle inner-party differences
  • the danger of neglecting cadre policy
  • lack of capacity and capability to implement policies
  •  the danger of gate-keeping and bulk buying of membership
  •  divisive slate electoral politics,
  • wedge-drivers, bulk-buying of membership and
  •  the danger of character and political assassinations and so on.

5. FOCUS ON THE ORGANISATIONAL PRE-DOMINAMT TREND-WEDGE- DRIVNG

President Oliver Tambo taught us to forever be conscious to the susceptibilities of some amongst the movement becoming "wedge-drivers" - the division makers who blemish the ANC and institutionally factionalize it along tribal, class, pseudo ideological religion and so on.

OR Tambo often used the phrase 'wedge-drivers' when addressing and mediating on ANC infighting.

At the Morogoro Conference in his closing remarks in 1969, President OR Tambo was instructive and remains teachable when he said;
"Comrades, beware of the wedge-driver, the man who creeps from ear to ear, carrying a bag full of wedges, driving them in between you and the next man, between a group and another, a man who goes round creating splits and divisions. Beware of the wedge-driver, comrades. Watch his poisonous tongue".

On a radio broadcast to South Africa in 1969 Tambo repeated this warning and called for unity saying;

"Our Morogoro Conference last May sought to accelerate our progress towards armed confrontation with the enemy. It examined in detail various aspects of our struggle, it carried out a thorough review of our strategy and tactics, our programme and our policies, it called for the closing of ranks, for unity and for vigilance against splitters and wedge-drivers and against conscious or unconscious enemy agents in our midst".

Wedge-drivers drive their wedge either for personal political promotion and expediency or as conscious or unconscious enemy agents.

We characterize these people as belonging in the basket of political contortionism.

Many nowadays use mainstream media outlets to let out their political ambitions within the movement and find fame within enemy agents hoping that our people would not decipher the political venom of their "poisonous tongues". To appear genuine, these comrades go as far as using other comrades names without consent - a danger by itself we labelled as 'name dropping' in 2014.

This, the year of OR Tambo demands of the movement to beware, be vigilant and draw from experiences to root out the split purveyors wearing greed with a strong stench of hypocrisy and naked personal vendettas be they loss of government postings or other personal issues usually related to the fight for resources, corruption

We called for the NPC not to be titillated by the cameras chasing for headlines from those who have made it their business to force their agenda, opinions and ideas as the only ideas there are - 'their way or the highway' arrogance.
We called for the NPC to restore the ANC as movement of bellicose cadres in defence of unity and constitutional principles of the ANC in its current design. We must resist the temptation to appear as better from the general criticism of the movement which at times may appear genuine but infact is coated in counter- revolutionary didactics. We must resist those intent to rule from the political graveyards or rule forever within or in retirement in the same way we have resisted continental unelected power grabbers.

The hoi polloi, that is the poor masses of the Congress Movement expects the NPC to assure them that the movement shall unite under the banner of Radical Economic Transformation agenda to deliver what is due and payable to them. We call for 'unity and closing of ranks' not because of denials of the internal challenges but because of the acknowledgement of the opportunity to defibrillate and strengthen the movement. We accept and are introspective about the dangers that have creeped into the movement and believe restoration begins with acceptance of ones failures and underperformance.

The movement must converge in full implementation of the newly gazetted Mining Charter with a clear path to do radically more. The private security and defence industries must be owned by South Africans to better manage risks to national security. There must be competition within cross-media ownership.

All economic, cultural, academic sectors of the economy must be radically transformed to reflect the true demographics of the country in terms of ownership patterns and management.

Crime must be fought in partnership with communities in Community Policing Forums and Community Safety Forums to create an enabling environment for business to thrive.

There must be zero conflict of interests within the decision-making structures of the ANC including its National Executive Committee (NEC). We ask whether a NEC member could not be highly conflicted if he/she sat in the NEC and also as a board or senior executive in a financial institution or other monopolistic or oligarchy industrial business.

At the centre of the question is, where does fiduciary duty start and end. There is no 'political party Act' but there is a Companies Act, which states that directors and senior staff must place their company above all else in terms of competing interests. We must not be tolerant of monopoly capital lobbyists amongst us.

This conflict of interest arises over protest organizations fashioned in a form of civil society groups as well. These protest organizations even take the form, colours and phraseology of the movement to position themselves as some 'true ANC' outfits.

These circumstances have produced a new type of ANC leader and member who sees ill-discipline, divisions, factionalism and in-fighting as normal practices and necessary forms of political survival. Drastic measures and consistent action against these negative tendencies are necessary to root out anarchy and decay.

6. PROPOSED FRAMEWORK FOR ORGANISATIONAL RENEWAL AND DESIGN

We argue that for the ANC remains the leader in the processes for social change as demonstrated by our delivery since 1994. That said, the ANC must retain its dual character as a liberation movement and a political party. In doing so, it needs to readjust its organisational machinery to be more responsive to the new demands of the current conjecture.

We propose a maximum target of 65% National Executive Committee members be allowed to serve in the country's Cabinet. This institutional arrangement will allow the organisation to have an objective view and influence on developments in government, civil society, the economy and international arena. The organisation can intervene strategically to any challenges. This should allow the NEC to be a balance mix of cadres in government and those engaged in civil society and business.

The resolution on the establishment of the Revolutionary Electoral Commission must be invoked and implemented. This process must be guided by the Through the eye of the needle policy document in order to ensure that the ANC structures prepares, produce and present to South Africa the best cadres from its ranks. It is recommended that critical aspects of the through The Eye of a Needle Policy Document should be incorporated into the Constitution.
The ANC nominations and election processes must be reviewed to allow for open contestation with provisions for the membership to engage the candidates.

The Leagues of the movement were proposed for re-affirmation with Council of Elders, the Veterans League as a chief moral compass.

7. LOBBYING AND INTEREST GROUPS

The extent to which lobbying has been tolerated in the ANC has only been through conference sessions. What has been proven to be a challenge is the lobbying process engineered by clandestine factionalism which destabilizes the organisation.

Act No. 4 of 2004: Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliaments and Provincial Legislatures Act, 2004 could be amended to regulate private sector lobbyists be they be promoting a certain individual for office or for regulations, laws or policies of state.

Internal lobbying of ANC members, leaders or structures too require our internal arrangements to enable ethics and code of conduct regulations be put it place to remove this practice from dark corners and possibilities of corruption.
The perception that lobbying is prohibited creates favourable grounds for destructive factionalism. Factionalism has become an integral part of the organisational culture. Its clandestine nature makes it a parallel activity that is beyond reproach. Efforts should be made at regularizing lobby or interest groups activity within the organisation.

There is a need for formalisation and transparent processes in managing lobby groups activities. Drawing from the experiences of Social Democratic and left leaning parties, the ANC has to develop guidelines to formalise and manage various interest groups within its ranks.

8. ENHANCEMENT OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY INFRASTRUCTURE

A one stop ANC portal infrastructure should be rolled out to reconnect ANC to the people and membership. It must contain all relevant policy and other documents. It should have a page where members, cadres and supporters and can advise or express their views on various matters.

It must have a team of dedicated administrators who can provide a personalised service to those who want to keep in contact with the ANC. Such a portal should be designed in a manner that membership application can be processed and confirmed instantly, and have automated SMS system that facilitates communication between ANC and its members and supporters.

The ANC should have a fully automated electronic recruitment and membership management system. This system should be centrally commanded from the National office but provide visibility and dashboard to the branches, regions and provincial structures of the ANC.

The use of technology in the elections process requires advancement of codification using tools like the ANC cloud for effective monitoring of the election processes.

9. AN INFORMED AND IDEOLOGICAL GROUNDED ANC CADRE

This being 'A Decade of a Cadre' - the NPC must reflect on the progress made so far to develop a properly ideologically trained and guided cadre.

The new cadre should be able to understand and appreciate the ideological orientation, policies and political programmes of the African National Congress. This new cadre should be able, at all times, to understand, and interpret the changing nature of global balance of forces, social and economic trends in society and have a strategic and farsighted approach to challenges of "modern day" society.

10. BLURRING OF IDEOLOGICAL COMMON PURPOSE

There is a general confusion that is a result of a departure from the vocabulary or lexicon of the movement. Even senior or perceived to be senior members of the ANC and Alliance get caught up in situations where use of neo-liberal phrases is common and denials of ANC policy positions thus the lexicon erupts.

The ANC has a policy of Radical Economic Transformation. The ANC recognizes that monopoly capital of whatever kind or race is not desirable and cannot be accepted as it constrains the economy from growth and radical innovation. The ANC sees free competition as key to the success of the economy and its growth towards the set targets in the National Development Plan.

White Monopoly Capital in particular has been in ANC lexicon since its founding in 1912. The blurring of lines and political amnesia is mostly nefarious - ideological dissonance.

Our forebears, Pixley Isaka ka-Seme, Anton Lembede, Duma Nokwe, OR Tambo and Nelson Mandela individually developed the political economics analysis over the specialty of South African question, identifying in exact words; 'White Monopoly Capital' as a primary political foe to the movement and its people. As such, the struggle against White Monopoly Capital is on from various fronts including state institutions like the national Prosecuting Authority and the Competition Commission.

Sector Charters that have been Gazetted by the ANC government are targeted at dismantling White Monopoly Capital and its strangle hold over the South African economy. The aim is to have a competitive economy that is unleashed from the hands of a very few, predominantly white Afrikaner males.

The opening of the South African market to international business is important for growth. It remains that the South Africans who co-own the industries and means of production with international capital must be reflective of the true demographics of the country to enable our fight against the world's worst income and wealth inequality to have a chance.

Various studies on the value of Black Economic Empowerment have placed the total value of these transactions (from 1994 to 2016) on a range between R380 billion to R440 billion. Juxtapose that with just the country's wine industry alone is valued at R1 trillion let alone the financial services, ICT, Mining, Food processing and others. The Johannesburg Stock Exchange has a market value of over R7 trillion with over 50% of its ownership in South African hands.

The property sector in South Africa is valued at over R8 trillion inclusive of agricultural land making land redistribution a very urgent and necessary programme. Radical Land Redistribution is ANC policy.

11. Conclusion

This media briefing document must be read together with the Organizational Renewal and Organizational Design discussion document and other NPC policy proposal documents in particular Strategy and Tactics.

Issued by the African National Congress
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