Johannesburg - Dogged by corruption, factionalism and vote buying within its ranks, the ANC is now considering forcing members to disclose their sources of wealth and those campaigning for positions to declare their funders.
These were some of the proposals tabled at the ANC national policy conference currently underway at Nasrec, Johannesburg.
The ruling party admitted that it is faced with a litany of problems including factionalism, bulk buying of membership and battles over the control of resource.
ANC national executive committee member Fikile Mbalula presented a document outlining some of the radical changes that the party plans to undertake as part of the renewal strategy resulting from growing concerns that the party is bleeding support.
Proposals include the creation of a “Revolutionary Electoral Council”, a body that will screen and interview members for eligibility before they can even stand for positions, opening up the campaigning process and giving more powers to the integrity commission of the party.
The electoral council will be formed by members of the party not interested in any of the position but not necessarily its veterans.
Mbalula said this is meant to deal with factionalism in the ANC which in some cases had led to undeserving candidates making it to the party’s top leadership by virtue of them having support of the strongest faction at that point.
“The council will help us exorcise the tendency of factionalism We don’t want candidates who are affirmed by factions,” Mbalula said on the sidelines of day three of the six-day conference.
He said the council will evaluate members running for positions using the Eye of the Needle, the ANC’s guideline on choosing leaders.
Once they pass the test only then will the names be referred back to the party structures.
On members having to declare wealth, Mbalula said this was to deal with the issue of members having ill-gotten wealth but was not necessarily to bar members being engaged in business.
“We cannot say arrest and investigate all those who have questionable wealth but members of the ANC are exempt from that. We must be able to give an account of the personal wealth of individuals."
“The ANC nomination and election processes must be reviewed to allow for open contestation,” Mbalula said adding that doing so would prevent clandestine campaigning and the patronage being dispensed in exchange for votes.
The party is also planning to give its integrity commission “more bite” by giving it powers to subpoena members implicated in wrongdoing.
The commission was established in 2013 with a sole mandate of dealing with allegations of improper conduct against ANC members and deployees in the state.
Mbalula said such would have to find expression in the constitution of the ANC as this was not the case currently.
The first two days of the conference have been dedicated to self-introspection by the 3000 delegates. Mbalula said the ANC needs to self correct.