ANC devises plan to address cronyism

08 April 2012 - 02:16 By Caiphus Kgosana

The ANC has proposed setting up its own electoral commission to run the party's internal elections and scrutinise potential candidates.

Image: File Picture

The ruling party has also critiqued its own cadre deployment policy, admitting that it had been abused to deploy unqualified and unsuitable people to top positions in government and other institutions.

This is contained in a discussion document on organisational renewal to be released ahead of the party's policy conference in June.

Titled "Organisational Renewal: Building the ANC as a movement for transformation and a strategic centre of power", the document will be discussed at the policy conference. If the proposals are agreed to they will be taken to its national conference in December for further discussion and adoption.

As an attempt to enhance the ruling party's electoral process, it has been proposed that a permanent electoral commission be set up at national, provincial and regional level, whose term of office will correspond with that of the executive committee at that level.

Such a commission would have the power to scrutinise nominations of candidates by branches to determine if those candidates are suitable for leadership positions. It will have the power to reject candidates.

It is suggested that the electoral commission work closely with the ANC's Integrity Commission, which was set up to deal with allegations levelled at potential candidates on matters of integrity and ethics.

At the moment the ANC outsources the running of its internal elections to the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa - an independent elections management agency.

The ANC has been rocked by fierce contests where candidates are nominated and elected via factional slates and money and the promise of positions is bandied about to influence delegates to support particular leaders.

It has now come up with a set of rules that are to guide lobbying which, if adopted, will make the following practices acts of misconduct:

  • Raising and using funds and other resources to campaign for election into ANC structures;
  • The production of T-shirts, posters and other paraphernalia to promote a candidate;
  • Promising positions or other incentives or threatening to withhold these as a means of gaining support;
  • Attacks on the integrity of competing candidates, except legitimate critiques related to the substance of the contest s; and
  • Failure by a candidate to take steps to stop acts of misconduct done in their name.

ANC Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe rebuked members of the youth league in Limpopo for wearing T-shirts bearing his face, with the inscription: "Motlanthe for President".

Meanwhile, the party has admitted that there have been serious problems with the implementation of its cadre deployment policy.

It said the policy had resulted in the deploying of party loyalists into positions of serious responsibility and authority without adequate preparation.

"This is tantamount to sailing into the deep seas without a compass, or giving enthusiastic activists weapons to go and carry out operations without basic military training.

"As a result this has discredited cadre deployment and destroyed some of our comrades, who ultimately could not perform and had to be removed," it said.

Critics have blamed cadre deployment for many of government's ills, including the collapse of crucial departments in provinces such as the Eastern Cape and Limpopo.

The ruling party has suggested that in future, no cadre be deployed without proper training, qualifications and preparation for the role.