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Johannesburg - African National Congress secretary general Gwede Mantashe's diagnostic report decried a systematic decline in the ruling party's support base after the 2004 general elections.

Mantashe presented his report at a closed session at the national policy conference. He said tools provided in the Organisational Renewal and Strategy and Tactics conference papers should be used to resolve the internal crisis and re-instil society's confidence in the governing party.

"The first step towards that goal is to acknowledge that the movement reached a plateau in the 2004 general elections, following which it began to decline," read the report.

"Any normal organisation goes through such a phase. When it recognises that something dramatic should be done, it arrests the decline and initiate a new growth trajectory....this is the stage our movement is approaching."

Between the 2014 and 2019 elections, the party experienced an "accelerated decline", Mantashe added.

"Our intention is to diagnose the causes of the decline and to utilise the policy conference as a beginning of a serious process of self discovery and self correction."

He told journalists that it was not often that an organisational report was presented at a policy conference, and that this was necessitated by the party's stalwarts and veterans' call for a separate consultative conference.

The veterans and members of the Umkhonto We Sizwe (MK) national council have since boycotted the conference.