ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe has delivered a hard-hitting analysis of what ails the governing party, warning that factionalism, leaders’ arrogance and mistrust are destroying it.
In his document, A Diagnostic Organisational Report, presented to a closed commission at the ANC’s fifth national policy conference in Johannesburg yesterday, Mantashe painted a grim picture of the state of affairs.
He said factionalism, infighting and lack of trust among members were contributing to the party’srapid demise as the electorate was fast losing respect for the ANC.
Internal fighting for positions had become commonplace, but it had been “foreign to our movement for comrades to see deployment as a source of material benefit rather than a reason to serve the people”.
“Being in power is rapidly becoming a source of political bankruptcy in that members of the ANC fight for deployment either as councillors, members of provincial legislatures and members of parliament as if there is no tomorrow.
“In the last local government elections, infighting was a common factor everywhere – in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, Tshwane or the political killings in KZN, or in some parts of the Eastern Cape – where our electoral support decreased,” Mantashe said in his report.
The intensity of this infighting and factionalism were preventing the ANC from analysing the protests that were bordering on a revolt against the government and the party, he added.
“Some sections of the ANC that are impatient and wanting to see the back of the president immediately feel justified in joining the #ZumaMustFall marches, or vote with the opposition in the motion of no confidence in the president of the country. Analysing the consequences of such actions is left to only a few leaders.”
He added: “Other sections of the ANC that project themselves as the sole protectors of the president feel justified to make reckless statements in defence of him. How such statements hurt the reputation of the ANC is left to a few to analyse.
“Ultimately, we fall prey to external forces and weaken the movement ourselves. This situation confuses society, and the movement slides into decline.”
Mantashe said discussions about the Gupta family “being too influential in the decisions of the state has become a household discussion” in party structures.
“Their relationships with the families of prominent leaders attract the attention of the people. When there are benefits that accrue to families of the leadership, it is assumed to be corrupt in that the political leaders are supposed to have facilitated the accrual of benefits.
“The leadership of the ANC should never be taken by surprise when society reacts to such relations. In our case, we become dismissive and defensive about it.”
Furthermore, party leaders and members who made negative statements about the ANC were creating the impression that it could not be trusted.
“In attempting to be transparent about our challenges, we must stop communicating negative messages … This is either a sign of being overwhelmed or lack of capacity.”