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By Eric Naki

Political Editor

ANC elective conference: Changing step-aside policy may still be on the agenda

The national executive committee would allow the matter to be discussed at the conference if it was raised,

The ANC’s controversial step-aside policy could be placed on the agenda of the party’s 55th national conference in December – if delegates want it to be discussed.

This was revealed by ANC treasurer-general and party deputy president-hopeful Paul Mashatile, who said step aside could be discussed.

He acknowledged that the leadership were aware that some senior members had publicly expressed concern about a lack of fairness in the application of the policy.

NEC to discuss step-aside rule

The national executive committee would allow the matter to be discussed at the conference if it was raised, he added.

The ANC‘s integrity commission was also empowered to instruct a member to step aside should there be serious allegations levelled against the member.

ANC code of conduct

If a member was ordered to step aside by the commission, he or she was obliged to do so, otherwise he or she would face disciplinary action in terms of the ANC code of conduct.

“If there are such serious allegations that you should step aside, the integrity commission can take a decision to ask you to step aside,” he said.

Mashatile, ANC general manager Febe Potgieter and other party officials conducted an inspection of the conference centre in Nasrec yesterday. “We are confident our conference will go well. In brief, we are ready for it,” he said.

Conference details

A total of 6 000 attendees, comprising 4 200 ANC voting delegates, members of the diplomatic corps and guests were expected at the gathering from 16-20 December.

The party had managed to reach 85% of branches in good standing that were qualified to participate in the conference, far in excess of the 70% threshold required.

Mashatile said 84 dispute cases relating to the nomination process had already been received by the ANC national dispute resolution committee and processed. Four remained and those would be finalised soon.

The ANC had put strict measures in place to prevent a recurrence of electoral fraud relating to vote-buying, by introducing a new fraud-proof system to ensure a fair nomination process by branches.

“We want to avoid gatekeeping, that’s why we introduced the new system. I am not aware of anyone being bought so far, we have not picked up incidents of people being bought. The delegates themselves will decide who to vote for,” he said.

Disciplinary action will be taken against guilty parties

This was echoed by Gwen Ramokgopa, the coordinator of the secretary-general’s office, who said it was understood that the system might not be perfect, but disciplinary action would be taken against members who manipulated the process.

Nominations for all ANC candidates contesting at the December conference closed on Monday.

The nominations would not go to Luthuli House, but would be sent directly from branches in sealed envelopes to the ANC electoral commission chaired by former ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe.

Financial records

All candidates were expected to declare their financial records and donations to the Motlanthe commission, which was authorised to demand the reports from each of the candidates. Anyone who failed to disclose their records faced disciplinary action and possible expulsion.

One of the key constitutional amendments proposed for the conference was the introduction of the second deputy secretary-general, to make seven office bearers, or the top seven.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to deliver his political report on 16 December followed by the secretary-general’s organisational report to be given by Deputy President David Mabuza and then Mashatile’s financial report.

Most of the proceedings will be conducted in commissions and some closed and open plenaries.

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– ericn@citizen.co.za