The Policy Conference paid specific attention to the process of election of ANC leadership. It noted that there was a need to elect leaders according to the principles of service, track record, capacity, integrity, discipline, honesty, trustworthiness, and representivity as outlined in the ‘Eye of a Needle’ document.
The current distortion of the election process through factional practices like slates, vote buying, patronage, intimidation and exclusion deny the ANC the best possible collectives of leaders. The conference acknowledged that the current electoral college system can be easily manipulated by influencing a core of influential people, like branch, regional and provincial secretaries, who manage the membership and deployment system. This makes the ANC’s democratic process vulnerable to corruption by business, internal factions and outside interests. There was also concern about the lack of representation of motive forces among ANC leaders and the predominance of people deployed to government. The conference therefore proposed that an Electoral Committee be established to set the rules and procedures for elections, deal with disputes, screen candidates, order lifestyle audits if needed and oversee the management of the nomination and election process.
This Electoral Committee should be elected by the NEC and report to the NEC, and should be made up of comrades with no direct interest or conflict of interest in leadership positions.
Nomination processes should make slate nomination impossible by limiting the number of leaders that each branch can nominate for positions in NEC, PEC and REC. Slate voting should be outlawed and practices that allow for unifying voting should be encouraged. There was also a suggestion that the system of elections be reformed. One option was to consider a direct membership vote in NEC, PEC, REC and BEC elections, giving every ANC member in good standing a vote in an open election before conference or at a Branch AGM. Conference will then focus only on policies and programmes and holding leadership accountable.
These reforms are necessary to ensure that the poor quality of leadership identified in the Diagnostic Report is addressed and that many of the practices that contribute to factional behaviour are eradicated.