ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa has admitted that factions within the organisation and deploying cadres based on popularity and not merit has weakened the party.
He said the party could only survive if it appointed those who had integrity, were credible and were disciplined to serve the movement.
Ramaphosa revealed that the party’s renewal programme was to take out “disorderly behaviour” within the ANC.
The president, who was speaking at the eighth regional conference of the Norman Mashabane region virtually on Monday, condemned those allegedly hiring “thugs” to disturb ANC programmes.
Ramaphosa said the ANC would continuously call out members who brought the party’s name into disrepute as they failed to adhere to its rules.
Ramaphosa said the prestige of the movement was not supposed to be sacrificed at the altar of political expediency and thuggery.
He said the party was not an organisation of thugs, but an organisation that had a great lineage of leaders, members, and people who had always been disciplined.
“This is a disease that has come in our organisation, we must root it out. Just as we must root out corruption. Corruption is the one disease that is reducing the image of the ANC, reducing the standing of the ANC, and reducing the support of the ANC. And as we look around comrades, particularly now as we head to local government elections, we’re finding that our people complain about two or three issues. Unemployment… corruption and the twin brother of corruption is in-fighting,” he said.
On Friday, News24 reported on the concerns raised by the North West interprovincial committee who said standing councillors contesting for leadership positions were paying gangs to disrupt branch general meetings (BGM) so that they could remain in power.
“Now clearly we still have members with an abiding sense of entitlement and the belief that they are entitled to positions and they’ll do anything to get into positions and my view is that those types of members comrades are those who just want to plunder the resources of our people and not really service our people,” Ramaphosa said.
Ramaphosa said it was high time the organisation deployed a group of capable people who could demonstrate that they could do the work and who had a history of serving the people capably.
Ramaphosa highlighted that part and parcel of the ANC’s downfall was because of people who were deployed for various positions based on popularity and not merit.
“We need to identify comrades who we will now work for our people. Who we will be proud of that they will do the work. So if we can do that, then we should get comrades who are committed to service delivery; who will do the work, who will look after the money of our comrades,” he said.
The ANC president made it clear that people who voted for the party were not oblivious that the ANC had been divided by factions internally.
He said that without identifying some of the wrongs committed by party members, those who voted ANC would lose hope in the party.
“They see corruption happening, they see people fighting amongst themselves and then they experience lack of service delivery… and then they walk away from the ANC. Now comrades, we must then void a compact without people. As we go to them to campaign for our local government elections, we must be able to say to them we’ve turned a new leaf,” he said.
Ramaphosa said his next programme of action in addressing service delivery issues would be visiting the North West to address some of the issues which included service delivery and had collapsed local governance in the province.
Meanwhile, earlier on Monday the ANC also condemned isolated reports of violence associated with some ANC branch general meetings hosted over the weekend in parts of the country.
This comes after now-disputed reports that two people lost their lives and 14 seriously injured following a shootout during a BGM to nominate a ward councillor candidate in Lephalale, Waterberg region, Limpopo.
“This negative tendency of hooliganism and thuggery has got no place in our organisation,” the party said in a statement.
Pule Letshwiti-Jones. Additional reporting by Siyanda Ndlovu