FEARS of slate politics undermining the ANC’s processes of electing leaders are mounting as the party’s crucial 54th national elective conference draws nearer. ANC national executive committee (NEC) head of the subcommittee on organisational development Fikile Mbalula said yesterday in a media briefing in Johannesburg, that slate politics denied credible leaders the opportunity to serve in the movement.
“The negative practices of slates and vote buying have delivered leaders who have difficulty driving our programmes,” Mbalula said. With the party having wrapped up its nominations processes and Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa having emerged as clear frontrunners for the presidency of ANC, slates for both presidential candidates have become clearer ahead of the party’s elective conference.
While Ramaphosa garnered 1 862 branch nominations for party president, Dlamini Zuma is lagging behind with 1 309 nominations. Mbalula, making reference to fears that the conference would descend into chaos, said discipline would be strictly enforced to curb potential disruptions. “In going into this conference, we are very strict and are going to enforce disciple.
There are certain things we are just not going to keep mum and allow simply because we are paralysed,” he said. “The thing of people coming to conferences naked, coming with coffins and all of that, singing, bad mouthing other people. That will not be allowed in that conference.” “Yes we’ll differ we’ll contest, we’ll elect new leaders out of those differences, we’ll contest in terms of the battle of ideas to shape our policy. That is allowed. But where people do things like those, who go disrupt meetings, those things should not be allowed,” Mbalula said.
He called for the ANC to tighten the noose around gate-keeping and votebuying. “Investigate and prosecute all cases of vote or support buying, or membership or branch gate-keeping,” he said. He referred to proposals to strengthen the ANC’s integrity committee, saying that the party’s conference would keep its eye on the matter. He also noted ongoing debates on the matter within the party. “The integrity commission should be given stronger constitutional powers.
“Others proposed they should get their mandate from the national executive committee,” Mbalula said. The establishment of an ANC internal electoral commission was also on Mbalula’s radar. “Set up an electoral commission to make rules and screen candidates for leadership, as well as public representative elections,” he said.
Speaking earlier at an Energy Indaba, President Jacob Zuma promised a peaceful transition of power at the ANC’s conference. “In my capacity as the president of the ANC, let me assure you that everything possible is being done to ensure a smooth transition,” Zuma said. He also reflected on his last ANC NEC meeting on Monday.
“It was one of the warmest meetings we have ever held. The NEC was united in its resolve to ensure a successful and ordinary conference,” he said. More than 4000 ANC delegates are expected to descend on Nasrec in just a few days to elect a new leadership and discuss crucial policy related matters.