Johannesburg – Umkhonto weSizwe veterans have called for the ANC’s national executive committee to be disbanded and for an interim leadership to be appointed, using the party’s “Eye of the Needle” policy framework as a guideline.
Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Thabang Makwetla said during a media briefing on Wednesday the interim leadership should preside over provincial disbandment and the appointment of provincial interim leadership committees.
The “Eye of the Needle” document, which was drafted in 2001, outlines the attributes that will help to identify a true leader.
The steering committee declined to announce who they will be endorsing as a presidential candidate, but made it clear that lifestyle audits and vetting of ANC leadership at all levels would set the precedent for who would be the most appropriate candidate.
This is despite President Jacob Zuma rejecting the call for lifestyle audits last month.
“There is a need for lifestyle audits and vetting of ANC leadership at all levels of the organisation, stamping out corruption and state capture,” said Makwetla.
He added that the Military Veterans Association’s national council was deeply concerned about what it has called the “culture of demagoguery and deceit”, which he said had made the ANC impotent as a political party.
“We are fully aware that high levels of inequality, corruption and poor performance are eating into the legitimacy of the country’s political establishment and breeding extremist forces in the country’s body politic."
“We are convinced that we must be alive to the external threat to our revolution, but must be more rigorous in denying them fertile ground,” said Makwetla.
Committee member Ka Shabangu said the group wanted strong ANC branches and also needed to deal with the fundamental issues within the ANC.
“We are not here to endorse any particular individual for the leadership of the ANC. We are not there yet."
“We need to deal with these fundamental issues first. We need to lay the foundation on which we want to elect a proper leader based on the conditions that we are going to define clearly. And those conditions have not been agreed upon,” said Shabangu.
The steering committee also raised the question of whether the party was still rooted among the people and rather wanted an ANC of quality and not just quantity.
“We don’t want strong branches in terms of numbers. We want strong branches in terms of understanding the politics of the country, understanding the policies of the ANC and understanding the strategies and tactics as to how we move this society to a better future,” Shabangu emphasised.
The MK council has also encouraged MK veterans to join the ANC branches, as well as trade unions and civil society organisations.