For the first time the ANC’s discussion on Strategy and Tactics focused significant attention on the organisation’s integrity and cohesion.
This follows an analysis that since 1994 many negative tendencies have crept into the conduct of ANC members and leaders, with deeply entrenched deviant conduct.
Arrogance, factionalism and corruption have been identified by large sections of society, including ANC supporters, as dominant tendencies within the movement.
TO IMPLEMENT THESE STRATEGIC INTERVENTIONS of re-engineering, renewal and regeneration consistently and without fear or favour, the document says, requires extraordinary courage and determination from all structures, leaders and members of the organisation.
Delegates agreed that the integrity of the ANC needs to be enhanced at four levels:
1. Self-correction should include efforts to revitalise and shore up the visionary and policy integrity of the movement. This requires clarity of purpose and the merger of theory and practice. Against the backdrop of a changing society and opponents that seek to appropriate the language of change, reliance on technical number-crunching about quantitative elements of ‘delivery’ will not do. Transformation should find expression in the articulation of a long-term vision of a new civilisation of social relations at the southern tip of Africa, in speedier implementation of programmes of fundamental change and in improving the quality of outcomes.
2. The ANC should implement an intensive programme to restore the integrity of systems of managing membership and leadership. From joining the movement to the operation of branches and higher structures, there should be mechanisms for sifting quality and ongoing improvement in the orientation and character of members. The strategic centre of power should exercise collective authority over members and leaders alike. That authority should derive from principles, policies and decisions collectively arrived at.
3. Leadership integrity. This relates primarily to criteria and processes of selecting leaders. Leadership collectives should, as a whole, reflect the motive forces of change and the various centres of power. This should help burst “the bubble of professional politics” in these collectives: a bubble in which government functionaries and full-time ANC employees operate as if in an echo chamber, thus widening the distance from the rest of society. Leadership integrity also relates to criteria to qualify for such responsibility, including length and quality of service, as well as ideological, academic and ethical attributes. Lifestyle audits by structures in which the membership has confidence are critical.
4. The integrity of technical systems is an area requiring strategic intervention. This includes the use of information and communications technologies as technical infrastructure for management of membership and as indispensable platforms of internal and public communication. Creative ways for membership interaction over and above branch meetings should be devised. Such modernisation also requires generational change in the composition of membership and leadership, with socially conscious, loyal, capable, educated and honest young people finding space across all echelons.