ANC must accept internal campaigning for leadership positions – Ramaphosa

Cyril Ramaphosa. Image credit: Facebook/MyANC

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the ANC must accept that campaigning for intra-party leadership positions “is part of the modern way in which political parties operate.”

This is according to a leaked report of the party’s Integrity Commission, which met Ramaphosa on 19 November, 2020.

Internal campaigns ‘must be regulated’

According to the Commission’s chairperson George Mashamba, Ramaphosa said internal campaigns must nevertheless be regulated.

Ramaphosa explained that despite several ANC conference resolutions discouraging the practice, the use of money has continued to underpin the party’s leadership contests.

He reportedly said, “One measure to put an end to factionalism would be to have a new approach to leadership contestation. Without clear guidelines, the leadership contests will continue in the shadows, encouraging factionalism.

“The ANC needs to clearly identify permissible forms of campaigning and those that are not. The intention is to ensure legitimacy, transparency and accountability.”

Guidelines

According to Mashamba, Ramaphosa suggested that the ANC should formulate guidelines to address the following concerns:

  • Do we accept that there will be individual campaign machineries, with communications people, social media, etc.?
  • Do we want to explicitly prohibit that, or should it be done differently?
  • What guidelines should be issued around fundraising?
  • Do we want to limit the amount of funds to be raised?
  • How does the ANC eradicate the use of state resources in internal and inter-party campaigning?

“In relation to fundraising for conference, the President said he subscribes to the view put forward by the ANC Veterans League that there should be a limit from each donor to ensure no donor has the upper hand,” Mashamba said.

He added that Ramaphosa put forward some lessons learned from the ANC’s 2017 conference, including:

  • The absence of guidelines will lead to the campaigning taking place in the shadows, leading to patronage.
  • Campaigns should be used to build and unite the ANC and should not be underpinned by factionalism, etc.
  • After the conference, all campaign machineries should be dismantled.
  • Financial accounting of all campaigns and each candidate should account to the IC, and also in terms of tax and other applicable laws.
  • There should be a very clear commitment on the matter of buying of votes.
  • Proper practices from previous conferences, stemming from the resolutions adopted, should be developed into clear rules.

However, the Commission maintained that “it should be strictly prohibited to raise and use money for individual leadership campaigns at all levels of the organisation.”

Review of rules

In response to the CR17 campaign fundraising controversy, the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) decided in July 2019 to review rules for internal campaign funding.

“The NEC agreed to review the ‘Through the Eye of a Needle’ document so that we improve out internal party electoral system, including internal rules and regulations for lobbying and funding of individual campaigns for leadership,” it said at the time.

The party’s National General Council (NGC), which is scheduled for mid-2021, is also set to discuss the matter.

The Integrity Commission did not specifically discuss the CR17 campaign matter with Ramaphosa. It said this is because a 2017 ANC conference resolution discouraging the use of money in internal campaigns “cannot be implemented retrospectively.”

To read/download the full report of the ANC Integrity Commission on its meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa, click here.

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