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By Martin Williams

Councillor at City


ANC learned cadre deployment strategy from the National Party

Like the Nats, the ANC resolved to deploy cadres across all key centres of power.


Cadre deployment did not begin or end with former president Jacob Zuma.

It was adopted at the ANC’s 1997 national conference, where Thabo Mbeki was elected party president. And it continues.

Mbeki didn’t invent the idea of a party deploying its own people to control every aspect of the state. He learned it from the National Party, which governed South Africa for 46 years.

Like the Nats, the ANC resolved to deploy cadres across all key centres of power. Their first national deployment committee was led by then ANC deputy president Zuma. Subsequent deputy presidents, including Cyril Ramaphosa, have chaired the committee.

At the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, President Ramaphosa defended cadre deployment and he has done nothing since to suggest the policy will be abandoned.

Therefore, his January 8th statement pledging ANC renewal is worthless. He is incapable of ditching cadre deployment and its companion, corruption.

“The ANC is not corrupt,” Ramaphosa says. “Certain members of the ANC have been implicated in acts of corruption. We must make this distinction.”

That’s a distinction without a difference. The ANC is not separate from its members, too many of whom live by the motto: ”It’s our time to feed.”

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Ramaphosa will not name “certain” corrupt members. They include ministers and members of the party’s national executive committee whose support Ramaphosa needs if he is to stay in power beyond the ANC’s December elective conference.

Cadre deployment is at the core of the ANC’s rot and dysfunctionality. It’s a cover for the appointment of people not on the basis of merit, ability, qualifications or experience.

The ethical compromises in cadre deployment have negative consequences for the party and the country. Daily we pay the price for incompetent, corrupt government. Cadre deployment induces political bias among those who should be nonpartisan in the execution of their duties.

So, it is disturbing, if not surprising, to learn that the ANC deployment committee has been active in the selection
of judges. This we know from deployment committee meeting minutes released by the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture after persistent efforts by Democratic Alliance MP Leon Schreiber.

It is not unheard of for judicial appointments to be made along political lines. The US Supreme Court is the most internationally visible example. Our system is supposed to be different. The deployment committee undermines the role of the constitutionally mandated Judicial Service Commission (JSC) in advising the president on the appointment of judges.

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The process is cynically mocked when a committee chaired by an ANC deputy president supplies names of prospective judges to the ANC-dominated JSC, which then recommends these to the president for appointment. A cadre loop.

The ANC’s deployment committee should have no role in the appointment of judges, who should be chosen on the basis of their expertise, not loyalties. But the ANC learned from the Nats, who knew how to pack judicial benches.

ANC’s cadre deplyment strategy comes from the Nats

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