Good afternoon comrades, and thank you for a very successful meeting that was an embodiment of robust, frank and open engagements but done within the unity and discipline of the organisation.
Comrades, we have been engaged in an extensive process of selecting candidates that are going to carry out the work of our national democratic revolution in the local government sphere.
In doing this work, we reminded ourselves that the “ANC’s approach to state power is informed by the Freedom Charter and the principle that “The People Shall Govern”. We further reminded ourselves about the understanding that the attainment of power by the ANC is a means to fulfil the will of the people and ensure a better life for all. All other interests come secondary to this objective, and this point was consistently emphasised throughout the process.
Our process was guided by the objective of ensuring that we select only the best cadres to lead the process of transformation in the local sphere of government. These cadres had to be representative of women, youth, people with disabilities and the revolutionary alliance.
On the question of youth, it was emphasised that this should constitute young people from all their youth formations, particularly the Progressive Youth Alliance. This was important as a way of embracing all sections of the youth population in order to appeal to the constituency that is quite important for these upcoming local government elections, particularly in the urban and peri-urban areas.
We constantly had to remind all those involved in the process that: “to become an ANC leader is not an entitlement. It should not be an easy process attached merely to status. It should be informed first and foremost by the desire and commitment to serve the people, and a track record appreciated by ANC members and communities alike.”, as contained in our ‘Through the eye of a needle’ policy document.
This process was of course not without its challenges, as would any democratic process that is as open as the one that the ANC uses. This time around we placed the authority of selecting candidates on communities those candidates would serve. While noble, this itself would have its own challenges.
Violence that characterised our branch general meetings :
Our organisation was confronted by a series of violent incidents in our meetings. This is an area that the ANC must work tirelessly on to ensure that our meetings are characterised by robust, frank and honest deliberations and yet at the same time in a manner that is consistent with the discipline and character to the ANC. With the high levels of violence in our country, particularly that which is directed mainly on women, the elderly, children and the vulnerable, our meetings cannot We be hubs or hotspots of violence and where members and supporters feel unsafe.
Manipulation of community meetings to unduly influence outcomes :
A number of reports were received on some individuals seeking to manipulate the outcomes of the community vote. This is not just a violation of the guidelines but a counter-revolutionary conduct that seeks to undermine the principle that “The people shall govern.” It works against the ANC’s objective to reclaim lost ground by amongst other things selecting popular candidates that enjoy the overwhelming support of the communities they will serve.
In this regard, we have committed to follow up on all these reports to ensure that those individuals that were involved in such acts are brought to book and decisive action is taken against them.
Gross violation of Covid-19 regulations during meetings and campaigns:
Circulating video clips and photos illustrated an extremely concerning image of ANC members and supporters that are in direct violation of national lockdown regulations. This not only contradicted the message being sent by the ANC government on the need to observe all preventative measures but had the effect of undermining the work and progress that was being achieved in containing the impact of the virus on our lives and livelihoods.
As we embark on our campaigns, we are to be cognisant on this matter and ensure that we don’t send mixed messages to society.
Direct participation of candidates in overseeing selection processes :
From reports received, it was observed that some of the challenges, including manipulation and related reports, could’ve been caused by the reality that some candidates were conflicted in that they were available for nomination and yet at the same time were deployed to oversee the processes of their own nominations.
In developing and strengthening guidelines in the future, this matter must be taken into consideration.
Branches not nominating youth in their BGMs:
In seeking to ensure that final nomination lists have at least 25% of candidates that are below the age of 35, it was observed that this was proving to be difficult in several cases due to the fact that young people were not being nominated. Many contributing factors were identified for this reality, including the absence/ non-existence of ANC YL structures and other PYA structures, particularly at a branch level, and inadequate oversight played by deployed members of the REC as directed by the guidelines. This may require further or strengthened policy efforts over and above the need for revived youth activism and participation in the life of the ANC.
Alliance partners not being nominated in BGMs:
The same trend was observed in relation to nominations relating to alliance partners in branch meetings, which created difficulties for interventions to be made in order to affirm the alliance in the municipal councils. We need to urgently take the discussion on the reconfigured alliance forward to also include the development of consensus on this area.
Minimal participation of people with disabilities in the processes :
We also observed that there was minimal participation, if any, of people with disabilities in the candidate selection processes. This resulting into Master Lists that are without people with disabilities. This is another area that needs attention so as to ensure that our processes don’t discriminate people on the basis that they are with disabilities.
Dominance of males in ward councillor nominations:
We continue to observe with great concern the emergence of male candidates in the ward councillor nominations, to the extent that in some council this may undermine our constitutional and revolutionary imperative on the gender question. An analysis must be conducted to better understand this trend in order to develop programmes meant at addressing it.
Inadequate oversight/ guidance by REC reps in branch meetings to ensure compliance with the guidelines
Comrades, some of the gaps and contraventions that were observed in the final analysis of the process pointed out to the fact that there was no adequate guidance given by deployees to branch nomination meetings. This is a great concern as it is the responsibility of regional leadership to ensure that the correct processes are followed and principles adhered to, from the level of the branch general meetings.
Timely submissions to ensure compliance with deadlines:
Comrades, it continues to be a problem that we observe about the failure for structures to submit required reports and information on time. This negatively affects the quality of the work that has to be produced and often leads to material mistakes committed.
In the final analysis, it was clear that we still have the challenge that we had identified at our 08th ANC Provincial Conference of a visible decline in the understanding of the vision and mission of the ANC, coupled with the decline in understanding and inculcation of the ethics, values and traditions of the movement. The renewal of our movement must include adequate work on this critical aspect.
As we work towards the a decisive electoral victory we must ensure the unity and cohesion of not only the ANC, but the entire alliance and mass democratic movement.
Thank you very much.