Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is among the front-runners to replace President Jacob Zuma as ANC leader. Picture: Katlego Maifadi/GCIS
Johannesburg - With few days left to the ANC’s make-or-break conference, the ruling party has conceded that lack of planning, co-ordination and accountability is crippling its ability to achieve economic growth, address challenges in education and curbing corruption.

In a confidential document prepared for delegates going to the crucial elective conference next month, the organisation also admits that slate politics and vote buying had resulted in the election of leaders who can’t drive ANC campaigns and get respect from society.

The frank assessment also notes that there was loss of trust by members in the organisation’s processes due to the conduct of leaders.

“We suffer from a lack of planning, co-ordination, implementation and accountability. We have not managed to address our weaknesses in achieving economic growth, overcoming education challenges, and in combating, prevention, investigation and prosecution of crime and corruption,” the report reads.

“There are many critics of the ANC and of our leadership, and we are losing our influence among students, young intellectuals and the black middle class. The negative practices of slates and vote buying (have) delivered leaders who have difficulty driving our programmes and getting respect from society and supporters,” it adds.

The report came as the party entered into the last push to ensure that most of its branches qualify for the conference, scheduled to be held in Nasrec, south of Johannesburg from December 16-20.

Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is hopeful she will be chosen to succeed President Jacob Zuma. This weekend is the cut-off for party nomination. Picture: Antoine de Ras

Fierce battles between the supporters of presidential hopefuls Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa have forced the party to postpone the branch nomination meeting twice. This weekend would be the cut-off date for branches to nominate who is going to succeed President Jacob Zuma, among others.

Provinces would also from this weekend hold general council meetings to announce their preferred candidates.

Much like the party’s conclusions at the national policy conference in June, the report to Nasrec also details a myriad of problems threatening the existence of the ANC and its chances at the 2019 elections. Using institutions to fight political battles among ANC leaders and violence and killings were also some of the challenges that plagued the organisation.

This comes as political killings in KwaZulu-Natal continued this week. Yesterday, ANC councillor and Youth League deputy secretary in the Moses Mabhida Region, Sthembiso Mhlongo, became the latest victim after he was shot at his home in Howick. On Monday, Mhlongo’s colleague Lungisani Mnguni, a former branch chairperson in the Moses Mabhida Region, was gunned down while driving his bakkie. Mhlongo had spoken to the media and condemned Mnguni’s murder.

There have been at least eight politically motivated killings in KwaZulu-Natal since the Moerane Commission started its enquiry into political killings in the province.

The Moerane Commission had heard that almost 90 people have been killed in what are to believed politically motivated crimes linked to the Glebelands hostel since 2014, with no arrests being made.

Gatekeeping, vote buying and other challenges besieging the ANC caused the decline in electoral support in the 2016 elections, the report noted.

Of late some of the problems, including manipulation of processes, have led to branch nomination meetings collapsing and forcing the ANC to postpone the deadline due to many disputes.

This week ANC treasurer Zweli Mkhize noted that some the disputes would not be solved by the time of the conference.

“I don’t expect all issues to be completely resolved before conference,” he said.

Mkhize said that ahead of the upcoming provincial general council meetings he was hopeful that all disputes would be resolved.

Hundreds of ANC branches across the country have lodged disputes on the outcomes of their general meetings to nominate their preferred candidates for party leadership.

According to the report, loss of confidence by South Africans has appeared to be the party’s biggest headache.

Social distance, corruption, nepotism, arrogance, elitism, factionalism and abuse of state power have been identified as some of the major contributing factors to the party’s decline.

The admission comes as stalwarts and veterans of the ANC recently held a consultative conference at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg and raised the same issues, although the party distanced itself from their gathering.

Political analyst Professor Tinyiko Maluleke said the ANC’s candidness about its problems showed that a faction of the ANC was desperate for honest discussion about the internal crisis in the ruling party.

“While it is clear that there is desperation for an honest conversation within the party, the bigger question is, does everyone want to have that conversation? The answer is no,” Maluleke said.

In its policy proposal to the conference on organisational renewal, the party wants the signing of membership to be automated in a bid to insulate it from manipulation by branch and regional executive committee members of the party.

The ANC is also calling for reduction of the party’s national executive committee and that only 65% of its members must be in government.

On strategy and tactics, the party is also proposing that its leadership be made more representative of all sections of South Africa to increase accountability and integrity.

“Our leadership integrity also depends on representing the motive forces. Now we are an elite bubble where all NEC members are MPs, ministers, or premiers, accounting to themselves.

“We must ensure leadership reflects people from religious and trade union movements, and other structures of civil society,” the report reads.

The Star