President Cyril Ramaphosa says the ANC today is at its weakest and most vulnerable since the advent of South Africa’s democracy.
“Our weaknesses are evident in the distrust, the disillusionment, and the frustration that is expressed by many people towards our movement and our government,” he said.
ANC policy conference
The ANC president said the disillusionment expressed by many citizens over the state of the governing party, was reflected in the ANC’s loss of electoral support during last year’s municipal elections.
For the first time since 1994, the ANC’s national vote dipped below 50% and the party lost control of Gauteng’s three metros to the opposition.
“Our weaknesses are reflected in many of our branches, which are not involved in the lives of their communities, but are activated only for the purpose of electing delegates for conferences or nominating candidates for public office.
“Our weaknesses are evident in the distance between our public representatives and the people they are meant to serve.”Cyril Ramaphosa
ANC internal divisions
Perhaps most strikingly, Ramaphosa said, the ANC’s weaknesses were evident in the internal divisions within its ranks.
In a stark admission to conference delegates, he said divisions in the ANC were driven by corruption and corrupt party leaders who wanted to avoid accountability.
“These are not divisions about policies or ideology, but are driven by the competition for positions, the contestation of structures and the pursuit of access to public resources.
“These divisions manifest themselves in patronage, gatekeeping, vote buying, and manipulation of organisational processes.”
Despite the challenges highlighted by Ramaphosa, he said the ANC was showing signs of renewal. He said Africa’s oldest liberation movement was continuing to forge ahead with unity and renewal.
Ramaphosa said the most important task of the three-day policy conference was to lay the basis for the restoration of the ANC.
“We are therefore called upon to complete the fundamental renewal and rebuilding of the ANC.
“We are also called upon to end corruption, strengthen the state at all levels, grow the economy and create jobs.”
The ANC’s national policy conference sets the tone for the party’s upcoming 55th national conference later this year in December. The gathering is expected to conclude on Sunday.