/ 21 September 2010

ANC vows to staunch media leaks

Anc Vows To Staunch Media Leaks

The leaking of ANC leadership discussions and decisions to the media must be dealt with “decisively”, ANC secretary general said Gwede Mantashe on Monday.

“The leakage of NEC [national executive committee] discussions and decisions to the media are a regular feature of this leadership structure,” read the organisational report delivered by Mantashe to the ANC’s national general council in Durban.

“Agendas of the NEC are shaped and influenced in the media, with comrades blatantly projecting what they want discussed.

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“This tendency weakens the leadership of the ANC in the public eye as it projects this august body as lacking the necessary ability to discuss serious matters confidentially and communicate accordingly.”

The ANC’s top leadership body has decided that the top six officials should “deal decisively” with anyone found leaking information to the media.

Mantashe’s report said the NEC was “timid” in dealing with members “usurping the right of being spokespersons of the movement”.

This created the impression of an “incoherent leadership voice” to the public. Public spats, the report read, dented the image of the ANC and had to stop.

“In the majority of cases when serious decisions are made, they are perceived as leadership succumbing to group interests.

“The NEC decision that all public spats must cease, and anybody who crosses the line must face the consequences, is a serious resolution applicable to all the structures of the ANC.”

The NEC had also taken a decision on members holding more than one leadership position in the party at different levels.

“The NEC is of the view that in the next national conference [2012] the constitution must expressly prohibit comrades from holding more than one position in the organisation. This view is informed by the understanding that all these responsibilities are important for the organisation to operate optimally.”

Mantashe’s report also addressed the “temptation” to debate the leadership question too early. It said this was causing “instability” in the ANC.

“The NEC has taken a firm decision that it should be stopped, as any lobbying for positions by its nature is divisive. Lobbying is an important political activity that should never be relegated to conspiracy.

“Public pronouncements on the so-called succession debate have, at least at the public level, somewhat quietened down.”

According to the report, the NEC had thus far performed “well”.

“We must, however, continue to invest time and resources in ensuring that there is maximum unity in the movement. We must continue being rooted among the people, earn their support and never take it for granted.”

Proposals on nationalisation
The party has also called for concrete proposals on what more can be done on transferring the country’s mineral wealth to the poor.

“Given that the ownership of all mineral deposits have reverted back to the state, that private operators pay royalties to the state and a state-owned mining company has been reactivated; we need to offer concrete proposals as to what more can be done in this sector,” said the party’s organisational review report.

The report said two demands of the ANC’s Freedom Charter had been put on the agenda of the movement for discussion. The first was “the demand that the mineral wealth beneath the soil, the banks and monopoly industry shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole”.

The second was “to give practical meaning to the work that has been done and programmes that are under way in an effort to implement this policy as outlined in the Freedom Charter.

“The question we need to answer regarding the role of the state in the creation and redistribution of wealth and income is whether we have made sufficient progress in ensuring that the people shall share in the country’s wealth.”

The report said the ANC Youth League, which had taken up the debate on nationalising mines, was “a critical body of opinion”, but that it had to be more tolerant when it debated the issue.

“We must however, highlight and emphasise that the ANCYL must be more open and tolerant of different views when issues are opened for public debate. To antagonise and alienate those who wish to contribute to the debate makes the engagement poorer.”

The report said the biggest source of policy disagreements in the ANC’s alliance with the SA Communist Party and the Congress of SA Trade Unions was over the economy and required “full attention”.

“We remain divided on the monetary policy instruments, for example, interest-rates policy, inflation targeting, exchange controls and the most appropriate policy framework to effectively deal with the challenge of high unemployment,” the report said. – Sapa