Now that the dust has settled and the ANC has emerged battered and bruised after smaller parties wrestled control of the key metros during the recent local government elections, the ANC councillors need to be directed on a campaign to save the soul of the ANC led by the provincial ANC. 

It has become clear that the people are rejecting factionalism, corruption, nepotism, arrogance, elitism and lacklustre service delivery from councillors who are preoccupied with their own careers and factions.

Many observers have made the point that factionalism is a deviation from ANC policies because it is steeped in self-interest above the interests of the people. It is a self-preservation agenda devoid of empathy and putting the people first, which has dictated how we deliver services to our people.

In the Eastern Cape we have an urgent task to lead the unity and renewal of the ANC and tackle two features that are corroding our movement — corruption and disunity.

China’s President Xi Jinping called the campaign to end corruption “catching tigers and flies” when he took office in 2012. We need a similar campaign, but it must filter down to councils so that a new breed of councillors preaches the anti-corruption tune.

When President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the party’s 54th national conference, he implored delegates to move beyond factionalism. Invoking the party’s historical legacy, he asked everyone to “honour Madiba by putting behind us the era of discord, disunity and disillusionment”, since “a new dawn is upon us … inspired by our collective memory of Nelson Mandela and the changes that are unfolding”.

As a movement for fundamental change, the ANC regularly elects leaders at various levels who are equal to the challenge of each phase of struggle. To become an ANC leader should not mean it’s an entitlement. Moreover, it must not be an easy process attached merely to status. A leadership capacity must be informed by the desire and commitment to serve the people and having a track record of doing so.

All disciplined cadres of the congress movement need to shore support for the current leadership of the ANC, for the status quo of the provincial leadership to remain the same. This will help entrench unity and do away with factionalism and help the ANC focus on its agenda to transform and change the lives of our people.

ANC as a revolutionary movement, its tradition and renewal has to sustain the movement.  I’m also of the view to support the motion of status quo in Calata house, under the leadership of ANC chairperson Oscar Mabuyane, deputy chairperson Mlungisi Mvoko, secretary Lulama Ngcukayithobi, deputy secretary Helen Sauls-August and treasurer Babalo Madikizela, including leaders who have a potential to be provincial executive committee, such as Scara Njadayi, Xola Pakati, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams and Anilkumar Kesava Pillai.

These leaders have a task to rescue our movement and rid it of tendencies of individual ambition, lobbying, promoting friends, pursuit of selfish interest and ensuring that electoral processes do not tear the ANC apart. They need to prevent attempts to use the movement as a stepladder towards self-enrichment. Factionalism and corruption played a significant role in the party’s poor showing in the local government elections.

Mabuyane has reiterated calls for unity, saying those who want to use the party for their personal gains should go.

The agenda to save the ANC starts in our ANC-led councils to ensure that all hands are on deck and steadfast on delivering services to our people. We need the newly inducted councillors to quickly learn that local government is at the coalface of service delivery.

The ANC in the Eastern Cape has to start a journey to rebuild trust and mutual respect among comrades and between the generations. We need to make our province prosperous and a friendly place for investment — deliver on the promise of the investment conference early in 2022, create employment opportunities for our young people and deliver services. This is the challenge for the councillors and the provincial ANC. To put it in the words of the revolutionary Frantz Fanon: “Each generation must discover its mission, fulfil it or betray it.” 

The mission is to weed out corruption, unite the ANC and deliver services for our people for the betterment of their lives or history will judge us harshly and plunge us into obscurity.



Thabang Maseko

Thabang Maseko is ANC Eastern Cape activist and writes in his personal capacity

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