ANC President Jacob Zuma. PHOTO: ANA

Johannesburg - African National Congress (ANC) leaders should be voted for directly through "a one member, one vote" method, the party's stalwarts and veterans said in their proposal for the rebuilding the deeply divided governing party in South Africa. 

The elders held a consultative conference over the weekend, declaring that the party electoral system needed to be wholly reviewed. "An electoral review commission must be established for regular review of our electoral system. The Independent Electoral Commission must handle our elections, the ANC president and chairpersons must be directly elected by one member one vote.

A further proposal was that the ANC integrity commission, established in 2013 following a resolution at its 2012 Mangaung conference, be an independent constitutional structure that can act without influence from leaders. The conference agreed that the commission submit its reports directly the national executive committee (NEC) for implementation of its decisions. The integrity commission is headed by former Rivonia trialist Andrew Mlangeni. 

As part of rebuilding the party's image, the commission was formed to tackle matters where ANC members are accused of criminal or improper conduct. Deemed toothless for being unable to effect its recommendations, the commission has previously recommended that President Jacob Zuma resign, and he had reportedly refused to do so at a meeting with the commission in 2016. 

The recommendation arose from Zuma's decision to fire former finance minister Pravin Gordhan, which the commission said "disregarded the principle and tradition of collective leadership, both within the ANC and with our alliance partners". 

The stalwarts said they believed that the 105-year-old party can be saved from its current quagmire. "We acknowledge that our failure to address these issues timeously has contributed towards the damage of the ANC's reputation. We are, however, convinced that our movement, through a rigorous, serious and genuine introspection can self-correct and be rescued from its current crisis."