The document, which regional leaders tabled in 2012 at the party’s provincial policy conference prior to the Mangaung elective conference, where Jacob Zuma was reelected as party president for a second term, analysed the causes and the consequences of tribalism in the ANC and beyond the party’s structures, Capricorn Voice reported.
Simply titled The Demon of Tribalism, the document says the problem with “tribesmen” – those who apparently practise tribalism – is that they do not like democracy, freedom and women’s rights.
According to the document, while members have a right to belong to ethnic groups, their affiliations should not be brought into the ANC. The document emphasises that tribalism is mostly practised during deployment of cadres in government, at social gatherings and in political discussion forums.
It further observes tribalism is so bad in some cases that if the head of a state agency or government department belongs to a particular ethnicity, chances are most employees of that entity would be from the same one.
“The criterion that is used by some government departments to dish out services can also constitute tribalism.”
The ANC regional secretary at the time, Bricks Mandzini, said the ANC was a national movement and not a tribal one. He said tribalism affected “innocent people” in the province, especially in Mopani, where there had been complaints in the workplace.
The document states that some ANC leaders have ascended to power by making promises of jobs to members of their ethnicity. It claims tribal leaders put resources together to fight those seen as outsiders.
“It is difficult to channel their tribal energy into the national agenda because they are tightly preoccupied with tribal politics.
“Tenders are also awarded along tribal lines. The problem is so deeply rooted that bidders coming from the same tribe with those who have powers to award tenders are getting rich,” the document states.
Political analyst Elvis Masoga said former president Nelson Mandela had warned the party in the mid-1990s that, if unchecked, the ghost of tribalism could haunt the ANC. Mandela, a Xhosa speaker, said his preference was for Cyril Ramaphosa, a Venda speaker, to succeed him, but an elective conference elected Thabo Mbeki instead.
– Caxton News Service