ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) member Joel Netshitenzhe has proposed that the party should consider a form of “organisational state of emergency” to revive its renewal agenda.
Under this “organisational state of emergency,” every ANC member must reapply for membership and would need to meet certain criteria, including having a police clearance certificate.
Netshitenzhe made the proposal in an article published in the ANC’s latest edition of Umrabulo Journal earlier this week. The article is titled Impact of Balance of Forces on the Cause of Social Transformation.
ANC’s ‘existential question’
The ANC veteran lamented that the party is still beset by “internal squabbles, money politics and corruption” despite resolutions on unity and renewal adopted at the 2017 national conference in NASREC.
He criticised “lumpen elements who are driven by greed” and who even “steal food parcels and money for state funerals,” adding that some of them profess radicalism to justify their actions.
Netshitenzhe asked, “The ANC faces an existential question, now as we prepare for the NGC [National General Council]: can we achieve renewal of the organisation and of society and at the same time forge unity within the ANC? Is unity shorn of principle?
“How indeed do we deal with members who are in conflict with the law who then claim that they are being targeted because they represent some faction called RET within our ranks? How do we manage the refrain around ‘radical economic transformation’ that, in reality, seems to be a convenient revolutionary slogan?”
He was seemingly referring to ANC leaders such as Bongani Bongo and Mosebenzi Zwane, who have publicly claimed that they “feel targeted” because they support RET.
In December last year, ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule told Sunday Times that leaders who supported Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s failed bid for ANC Presidency in 2017 “feel targeted.”
“That’s how those people feel. That’s how Mosebenzi Zwane feels. That’s how Bongo feels,” Magashule said.
To address the challenges he outlined, Netshitenzhe proposed a number of measures, which he said “sound extreme” but are in line with the party’s renewal agenda. He wrote:
- “As we introduce the new digital membership system, we may want to ask every ANC member to reapply for membership.
- Our vetting mechanism should include a police clearance certificate for every member.
- We must strengthen the Integrity Committee and set up the Electoral Commission whose tasks include pre-conference ‘integrity checks’ for all those availing themselves for leadership positions.
- Through a mechanism that enjoys universal confidence, we should conduct lifestyle audits, starting with national and provincial leaders, and later regional and branch leaders.
- We must ensure swift and decisive action against wrongdoing.”
Netshitenzhe’s article appears to have angered at least one ANC leader – Ekurhuleni regional chairperson Mzwandile Masina, who is an ardent RET proponent.
Writing on Twitter, he said, “The RET attack by [comrade] Joel on the latest Umrabulo will be responded to in detail in the same publication just to balance facts from hidden agendas. We can no longer keep quiet when people are self-serving. We will expose facts as we know them.”