As the ruling party of the Country, the National General Council of the ANC is meant to be a platform where certain party members will get to gather in order to examine how the party has been getting-along, and compare themselves to whatever they’ve accepted as the standard of a successful political party so as to better position the party in such a manner that it will further appeal to the South African voting populace. To such end, the NGC is basically about evaluating ANC’s reputation, reviewing resolutions, amending policies and addressing the shortcomings of the party.
Candidly, the many issues raised and discussed in the gathering, openly and without reservation, suggest a bleak future for the ANC. Here however, are the things you ought to know about the ANC’s NGC ranging from the things destroying the party to their comeback strategies, and issues relating to South Africa at large.
1. The Huge Drop In ANC Party Members
In a previous report about the “NGC 2015 Discussion Document” titled – ANC Think They Might Lose The Next Election, we related that the party is worried about the increasing number of its supporters dissatisfied and abandoning the ANC for opposition parties. Buttressing this fact, President Zuma left party members at the NGC dumbstruck when he announced that party membership took a nosedive from more than 1 million in 2012 to 769 000. This infers that the ANC lost almost 440,000 paying members since its Mangaung conference in 2012.
Reacting to the unpleasant news, Secretary-general Gwede Mantashe stated should the ANC “declines below 60% in 2016, this would represent a psychological and political turning point that would be interpreted as an indication of the demise of the movement.”
2. The Things Pulling ANC Down From Within
The ruling party was able to figure out the reason behind the dwindling support for the ANC emanating from within the party. Regarding the problem as the “negative tendencies in the party,” the president in his opening speech remarked that the “systematic sowing of divisions” is ruining the dreams of ANC. According to him, “most ANC branches are facing difficulties and need to be freed from tendencies such as manipulation, gate-keeping or the bulk buying of membership” which have created many factions within the party. He nevertheless acknowledged that “some of these factions are not based on ideological differences,” and added that “almost all of them exist because of greed and hunger for power.”
3. There’s No Such Thing As “The premier league”
While we’re all quite convinced that the ANC “premier league” comprising of a lobby group led by the premiers of the Free State, North West and Mpumalanga worked for the emergence of Collen Maine as the ANCYL president, and Bathabile Dlamini to be elected as the Women’s League president, it was revealed at the NGC that there’s no such thing like “the premier league”. ANC North West chairperson Supra Mahumapelo, regarded as one of the leaders of “the premier league” told eNCA that he “don’t have even the minutest skill of being a kingmaker, I don’t know of such a thing…There’s no such thing as the premier league in the ANC.”
Simply put, a very cunning and mischievous plot regarding the successor for Zuma is ongoing within ANC.
4. And Yes, No Third Term For Zuma
Not long ago, a common hand gesture of the number; 3, as practiced by the ANC youth league got we all talking politics when it was interpreted as a call for another term for Zuma. As it is, the president is not restricted from serving a third term as the party leader even though he’s currently serving his last term in government as stipulated by the Constitution. The issue of Zuma and 3rd term was resolved at the NGC when the president reportedly stated that he will “never ever” stand for a third term as ANC President. According to him, “even if they beg me I won’t stand…I will never. No, I won’t.”
5. The Talk About Re-introducing Media Appeals Tribunal
To restore the deteriorated image of the party and ensure the mass media are “socially responsible”, the NGC decided that the media appeals tribunal be reintroduced, and concluded the Parliament will investigate its feasibility and desirability. While claiming the sole purpose for this is to ensure authentic dissemination of information, Lindiwe Zulu, hinted that the rationale behind the “media appeals tribunal” is to provide a ready weapon against critical reporting when she stated that “a lot of what is reported is on the side of the negative.”
In essence, its kind-of a scheme that will not only restrict press freedom, but guarantee nicer things are being said and reported on news platforms.
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6. The Party Is Determined To Make A Difference And Win Back Their Supporters
As Zuma called for the need to win back the “traditional supporters who are dissatisfied with us ahead of elections,” ANC NEC member Nomvula Mokonyane, who’s the head of elections and campaigns noted that the party is “determined to even make a difference in Cape Town.” According to her, ANC is sure they will consolidate their presence and increase their percentage in all those metros where their percentages had gone down. To achieve this, the party will be focusing essentially on its internal troubles, and will be unveiling its mayoral candidates in contested metros earlier to be the face of their election campaigns.
7. The Worries About The Sophisticated Foreign Security Outlets In The Country
This way quite surprising, as it’s tantamount to ANC discussing and admitting their failure in securing the country. While addressing the media at the NGC, ANC head of the sub-committee on peace and stability, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula related that there are private security industry which is way better equipped than the South African Police. “We have observed that they are well equipped, well armed, have high-caliber weapons way beyond what police in South Africa have,” She said. And further explained that it’s even more worrisome when these security companies are hired to secure government departments. To her, “Any country which is vigilant and which means business about the defense of their revolution cannot have a private security industry securing its national key points.”
8. Higher Education Fees Is Likely To Drop Or Stop Growing
The NGC discussed about the relentless increase in university fees as presented by the commission dealing with issues related to education. It was consequently agreed that the higher education department must come up with a policy with conceptual structures that will curtail the growth of fee levels in the higher education sector.
9. The Talk About Imposing “Wealthy Tax” On Wealthy South Africans
This is one of the issue that have generated much controversy. As the “ordinary” South Africans, yet to grasp the details of the “wealthy tax” as proposed have interpreted it to imply a strategy that will get white South Africans, assumed to be the “Wealthy South African” to pay more tax than other South Africans. Meanwhile, Enoch Godongwana, the party’s economic transformation head, clearly pointed out that consideration must be given to explore the feasibility and applicability of what they’re proposing. According to him, “we are not saying let us implement wealth tax; none of us here are tax experts, we’re activists. Therefore we need tax experts to look into this.”
10. ANC Is Going To Get South Africa Out Of ICC
The ANC started having a strong negative second thought about the International Criminal Court when the South African government was globally heavily criticized for letting the Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir, accused of genocide and war crimes leave the country after visiting despite a court order to arrest him. The NGC thus served as the platform for the ANC to share its convictions about the ICC to all.
Addressing the media, the ANC’s international relations chairperson Obed Bapela stated that “the principles that led us to be members remain valid and relevant. However the ICC has lost its direction unfortunately and is no longer pursuing that principle of an instrument that is fair for everybody.” Hence, Parliament will now debate ICC membership and we can all predict the outcome. As the ANC commands a comfortable majority in the legislature, South Africa will most likely withdraw from the ICC.