An irate President Cyril Ramaphosa has read the riot act to the party’s top brass, for making a u-turn on their own decision to act against corrupt comrades.
Ramaphosa said the current divisions and renewed factionalism has rendered the ANC a party “at war with itself”, with leaders closing ranks in defence of one another.
The president, who was giving the political overview at the ANC NEC virtual gathering on Monday, said the leadership in its August meeting reiterated the Nasrec national conference resolution that members must step aside if they faced allegations of corruption and other serious crimes. This has, however, been ignored, and instead divisions have become more pronounced and fresh factions had emerged.
“Now, just three months later, there is growing concern within society and among our membership that this leadership is not committed to the decisions taken by the NEC and by our National Conference,” he said.
According to Ramaphosa, the ANC had obtained no fewer than five legal opinions on the implementation of its so-called “stepping aside” resolution. He said the legal opinions had become an indictment on the party.
“I am certain that there are none among of us who ever would have thought that the deliberations of the NEC would have come to this. As members of a voluntary organisation, we are all bound by our constitution, by the resolutions of our conferences, and by the decisions of our structures,” he said.
He lashed out at the leadership, whom he said as revolutionaries, should be bound by political consciousness motivated by their commitment to the cause of freedom.
There was lack of a common and coherent approach to decisively taking action against leaders and cadres with allegations of corruption and other serious crimes hanging over their heads. This is despite the 2017 ANC conference that gave a clear instruction to the party to unite, and passed resolutions to build party integrity and credibility.
“Unity is not about closing ranks; it is not about accommodating or condoning corruption, wrongdoing or ill-discipline. Unity cannot be used as an excuse to turn a blind eye when some among us undermine and denigrate the revolutionary ideals of our struggle,” he said.
“Despite numerous resolutions and repeated pronouncements, unity within our movement remains elusive. As has been the case for a long time, the divisions within our movement are most pronounced at a leadership level,” Ramaphosa said.
The little semblance of unity that prevailed just after the Nasrec conference had evaporated and replaced by divisions and renewed factionalism.
“These divisions are manifesting themselves not just in our structures, but in public demonstrations of dissent and discord. In recent times, we have witnessed statements and actions that are alien to the practices, culture and values of our movement. We increasingly appear like an organisation at war with itself,” Ramaphosa said.
“We need to ask ourselves whether we are still committed to the mandate we were given by the conference to unite and renew the movement.”
He also reminded members that there are deeper organisational and political challenges that need to be addressed, and that the NEC, at their meeting on 28 to 30 August, took firm and unequivocal decisions to act against corrupt comrades and across society.