School board chairperson Kgalema Motlanthe said the school was initiated as a means to inculcate a culture of political attitude among party members.
ANC public representatives may not in future be allowed to stand for election to public office if they have not gone through the organisation’s political education school.
The process will start with the local government elections next year, when one of the criteria required for candidates to qualify is political education.
The education will be in addition to complying with the provision of the age-old ANC policy document, Through the Eye of the Needle, that requires members and candidates to be disciplined, corruption-free and honest.
Many of the ANC’s public representatives and party executives are known to be flouting its disciplinary code and some have to be subjected to disciplinary scrutiny by the party’s integrity committee.
The OR Tambo School of Leadership at the National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences in Parktown was launched in April last year by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
At a media briefing this week, the school’s Dr David Masondo said: “We intend in future to ensure that no one gets elected without having done this course. Anyone who wants to lead must have done it”.
Masondo said his main agenda was to produce a critical mass of people.
“You must be able to engage your opponent, but engage them through a carefully thought-through argument. We want to produce critical thinkers in the ANC,” he said.
Masondo’s sentiments were echoed by school board chairperson Kgalema Motlanthe, who said the school was initiated as a means to inculcate a culture of political attitude among party members. There was politics in every facet of life and party members would be empowered for any political situation.
He said they hoped to reach a stage where ANC leaders were led by conscience and when they erred, took responsibility.
“If you are a leader and hold people to certain standards, when your fall foul of those standards, your conscience must guide you to step down,” Motlanthe said.
Neither Motlanthe nor Masondo could be drawn into a discussion about whether the ANC planned to set a minimum academic qualification as a requirement.
The school will have 13 modules, of which five had been finalised.
According to Masondo, any South African whose aim was to strengthen democracy qualified to attend.
Masondo said key among the school’s outcomes was to support the ANC and society’s renewal agenda.
“More so when the ANC suffers a loss of confidence because of social distance, corruption, nepotism, arrogance, elitism, factionalism, manipulation of organisational processes, abuse of state power and putting self-interest above people and communities,” he said.
The school was working with the University of Johannesburg towards having the modules accredited and meeting the standards of the South African Qualifications Authority.
Masondo said a total of 1,300 trainers had been hired to conduct workshops and seminars throughout the nine provinces, targeting party branches and activists. About 2,600 applications had been received.
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