Former president Kgalema Motlanthe has echoed assertions by President Cyril Ramaphosa that the party was at its weakest at the moment caused by divisions within the ruling party.
Motlanthe was speaking on the sidelines of the sixth policy conference held at Nasrec in Johannesburg and expected to end on Sunday.
The Pretoria News reported that Ramaphosa in his opening address asserted that the party’s growing factional battles were not about ideological differences among its members but access to resources in government and municipalities in the country.
Motlanthe mirrored this assertion, saying factionalism had weakened the party.
“It is true the ANC is at its weakest in a sense that it is factionalised and part of the strength of the ANC over the years has always been that it is home to a whole spectrum of political schools of thought and they are always united in pursuance of a common goal.
“At the moment we are speaking in tongues so we need that cohesion, the convergence around policy positions so that when we interview a member in Thohoyandou and they respond to you, it should be within the same framework you would get a response in Mthatha or in Kimberley.”
Motlanthe further weighed in on the idea of some provinces proposing that the step-aside rule be scrapped.
Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal were the first ones to endorse the abolishment of the resolution, accusing the leadership of using it to fight factional battles.
However, Motlanthe disagreed saying that the constitution of the ANC provided for such a rule.
“People are saying the step-aside rule is likely to be reversed and so on. The ANC constitution itself basically says that if a member is convicted by a court of law on any serious offence including corruption and so on that member ceases to be eligible to be a member and should be expelled.
“So the ANC constitution already makes provisions that would ensure that the membership is made up of people who are upright and are not going to behave like the laws of the land do not apply to them. We do need the leadership to be decisive about it. Its the constitution and its the supreme law of the organisation and those should be adhered to very strictly.”
He said the conference had not yet touched on the matter, and the focus was on how to improve the quality of membership.
“So far the debates and focus have not even touched on the step aside rule. We have focused on how best to improve on the quality of membership because as we know you elect leaders out of the membership and if the membership is not properly oriented and you just take anybody willy nilly then you end up with leaders who are equally compromised.”