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ANC plans major overhaul

President Jacob Zuma greets the crowds gathered for the ANC 100th anniversary celebrations in Bloemfontein. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

President Jacob Zuma greets the crowds gathered for the ANC 100th anniversary celebrations in Bloemfontein. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

Published Jan 9, 2012


The ANC is planning a major overhaul of its structures, introducing professional management of its day-to-day operations and improving communications in the hope of transforming it from a liberation movement into a fully-fledged political party.

The overhaul was announced in the ANC’s January 8 statement delivered by President Jacob Zuma during the party’s centenary celebrations in Mangaung.

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The statement, which traditionally sets the tone for the president’s annual state of the nation address, was a broad sweep of the history of colonisation, the formation of the SA Native National Congress (later renamed ANC), the seminal moments and key milestones during the struggle against apartheid.

The party said it would require new organisational and strategic capabilities and would take advantage of advances in information and communication technologies and management sciences “to continue to reorganise the ANC in the best possible way”.

“Progressive modern management methods should be introduced in the running of the ANC offices. Over the next decade we will strive to build an advanced cadre of well-trained, professionally competent, decently paid and highly motivated full-time functionaries of the organisation at all levels, and in our operations combine traditional methods of organising with effective use of information and communication technologies.”

The ANC promised to review its leadership election system “to enhance internal democracy, the credibility of the process as well as the integrity and suitability of candidates”.

“This will protect the ANC from the tyranny of slates, factions and money and ensure that at all times the organisation is led by the most experienced, most committed, most talented and best collective across generations.”

A slate is a list of candidates for the top six positions in the national executive: president, deputy president, national chairperson, secretary-general, deputy secretary-general, and treasurer.

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Any challenge to the incumbent leadership requires the challengers to come up with a full slate.

The ANC also called on its members to improve their literacy rate, general level of education and skills.

“In 2012, each branch should begin the literacy campaign by focusing on eliminating illiteracy among the members and leaders of the ANC in each community”.

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Zuma said the party would take “urgent and practical steps” this year to restore the ANC’s core values and political discipline.

Commenting on the statement, Richard Calland, associate professor of public law at UCT, said: “Modernisation – and the transition from a liberation movement to an ordinary political party – is an ongoing process.

“Regarding communication, the ANC’s challenge is that it is such a diverse organisation, so giving a single voice on issues is never easy. You have people like (Julius) Malema on the one hand, traditionalists like Pallo Jordan... socialists like Blade Nzimande, so to provide the country with a single message is very difficult, an extremely complex job – and much easier for a party like the DA,” Calland said. - Political Bureau

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