ANC seeks 'leadership with integrity' as it attempts regeneration

Nathi Mthethwa, chair of the ANC's political education sub-committee, says the party is not preparing to lose power. (Delwyn Verasamy. M&G)

Nathi Mthethwa, chair of the ANC's political education sub-committee, says the party is not preparing to lose power. (Delwyn Verasamy. M&G)

The ANC’s political education sub-committee has called for a review of the calibre of leaders appointed to head the party as it tries to arrest its decreasing favour among the South African population.

Sub-committee chair Nathi Mthethwa held a briefing at the ANC’s headquarters in Johannesburg on Sunday, where he gave a detailed outline of the party’s need for selfless leaders: “A leadership that will take responsibility in ensuring that their quality as leaders is always improved, ideologically, academically and ethically.”

The call is part of a series of proposals compiled by the sub-committee ahead of the ANC’s policy conference in June.

The team has painted a bleak picture of the ANC’s ability to retain power if it does not deal with internal battles and factionalism.

“To the extent that the liberation movement is not able to deal with the organisational challenges, we will find ourselves in a difficult position to maintain and sustain power as the African National Congress,” Mthethwa said.

The party has outlined four areas of self-correction to focus on. These include revitalising the integrity of its policies, the management of membership, the selection of quality leadership and its technical systems.

Mthethwa said the ANC would work to dispel the belief that liberation movements naturally lose power within 20 years of governance.

“Were saying that’s not a natural trajectory, it is a function of factors, particularly subjective factors. And to the extent that the liberation movement is able to correct that, we’ll be able to move forward and lead society,” he said.

Last year the party saw a decline in support during the municipal elections when its national votes dropped to 54%, from 62% in 2011. The elections also saw the country move into an era of coalition politics, which saw the ANC lose 3 key metros to opposition parties.

Now the party has proposed the creation of a policy on coalition agreements, a move that has been interpreted as a sign of concern over a further loss of support in the 2019 national elections.

But Mthethwa dismissed this interpretation of the party’s proposal, saying it was not a sign that it anticipated losing power.

  “As a result of the 3rd of August 2016 [municipal elections] it’s a forced situation upon the ANC. It’s not about the national elections. We are asserting here that the ANC has to do what it has to do to continue to lead society,” he said.

“We’re not in any way preparing to lose power.”

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