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'Poor discipline and poor leadership' blamed for ANC's woes

Politics
Durban – The African National Congress's current problems can be traced back to ill discipline and the appointment of people not fit to lead, according to a draft document circulated to regional executive committee members, branch executive committee members, MPs, and MPLs at a KwaZulu-Natal ANC cadres forum in Durban on Sunday.

“Effectively, all our challenges and difficulties today can be traced back from a lack of political discipline and revolutionary commitment which leads to the election and appointment of comrades who were not fit to lead social transformation,” the document, titled "ANC KZN Political Perspectives towards the 54th national conference", states.

The KwaZulu-Natal provincial executive committee (PEC) drew up the preliminary document, a copy of which is in ANA's possession.

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Sihle Zikalala

Speaking at the forum, ANC provincial chairman Sihle Zikalala stressed that the document was in its preliminary stages, as it still had to include input from alliance partners and others. Journalists were not allowed to receive a copy of the document.

The document states that ill discipline and poor leadership combined with an economic meltdown in 2008 had resulted in growing levels of inequality, unemployment, and poverty.

“But it is also deep seated divisions which led to comrades in various levels of deployment and mostly in provinces being replaced or affirmed on the basis of their view towards the 52nd national conference.

“That is when revolutionary morality collapsed and [was] replaced by factionalism and a rise in abuse of state resources and massive reporting about real and perceived corruption which damaged the glorious image of the African National Congress.”

The 52nd national conference took place in Polokwane in 2007 and saw Jacob Zuma being elected ANC president, paving the way for him to be elected South African president.

The document states that during the time of “revolutionary morality” collapsing, the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) took on the role of hurling insults and labelling senior leaders within the movement.

“The leadership elected at the 52nd national conference, under difficult conditions where the movement was almost [torn] apart, failed to rise to the occasion both in terms of articulation and actions to stop the rot.

“The state became extremely weak with various institutions at war with each other in a manner that gives credence to the perspective that state institutions are being used for political [reasons] to settle political differences.”

It states that the core leadership of the ANC, the national executive committee (NEC), started to “dissipate”, with provinces emerging as alternative power blocks.

“Hence the ANC today functions in an uncoordinated way without a national and centrally driven programme of action and accountability demanded from lower structures. Our challenge today must be located from that historical context even though signs of a declining liberation movement were already in place before, and hence [former] president [Nelson] Mandela sounded [the] alarm at the 50th national conference.”

It further states that the quality of leadership demanded by the “challenges of the moment” will need members of the PEC “to have the courage to state their views openly and with a degree of comfort [and] for contending views to also find expression and be heard in a disciplined manner”.

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