ANC renewal: Mbeki’s call – a sense of ‘urgency’

Instead of the values that the movement stood for, individuals jumped on the ANC train for nefarious reasons and greed.


It’s not surprising the ANC is contemplating wooing white voters ahead of next year’s elections, but the party will not address its challenges if it doesn’t deal with poor service delivery and the quality of members it attracts.

Former president Thabo Mbeki raised this concern during his conversation at Unisa recently when he highlighted the importance of ANC renewal and attracting the right quality of members in order for it to reclaim its stature in society.

Lack of selflessness

It is common knowledge that, since the ANC came to power, some of its leaders were attracted to it because it was the easiest way to accumulate wealth through the abuse of state coffers. This has led to the ANC being infiltrated by leaders who lack the spirit of selflessness, service and sacrifice.

Instead of the values that the movement stood for, individuals jumped on the ANC train for nefarious reasons and greed.

These very same characters have become un-ANC in the ANC. For they go around shielding themselves behind the name “leaders”.

But if we look closely, we see they don’t have the interests of the ANC and the people at heart. All they did was to be a liability and make it possible for the party to be content with poor-quality members who are used as voting cattle for those who steal state money.

The status and standing of ANC members have been reduced to nothing but a stepping stone for those who seek political power for selfish reasons.

Most members joined its ranks to be paid by those who want access to state power, this further diminishing the party’s ability to hold those they deploy to government accountable.

These members are in their political master’s pockets and their mouths are fed by the crumbs they receive from these un-ANC individuals.

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Renewal

Therefore, Mbeki’s call for renewal is a matter of urgency. For if this renewal doesn’t take shape, the ANC will be a party of criminals and it shall reach a point of no return because thugs will be leading the party with their mafia tendencies.

So, for renewal to happen and be effective, the first step is to address this problem of poor-quality members joining in numbers.

The ANC must send every member to its political school. It is pointless to have one million members who are not benefitting the party in any way.

Rather have 100 000 members who are interested in the ANC and serving the people. So, it is important that ANC members be given political education that will make them understand the reason for politics, the principles and values of the party.

This way, they will become agents for change. But to ensure that this political education becomes a practical reality, it is important that the ANC always distances itself from individuals who have portrayed anti-ANC actions and the party’s step-aside rule must be implemented fairly, without using it as means for those in power to purge comrades who are not supporting their views.

‘Quality will change’

And the ANC should go back to the basics and encourage debate among its members. It must ensure a free space for members to air their views.

In so doing, members will grow in quality and will challenge each other to finding solutions to problems facing the country.

In this way, renewal will take shape and un-ANC characters who pose as leaders will disappear because the ANC’s political space will not be accommodative of their actions.

Ultimately, the quality of the ANC will improve because its members will be rooted to its founding principles and will be able to think independently. -Mthembu is an independent commentator

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