Former president Kgalema Motlanthe and Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas both described the ANC as an organisation that has lost its way, requiring an immediate and massive overhaul to regain the trust of the country.
Motlanthe and Jonas were speaking at the ANC regional consultative conference which is being held at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium this weekend.
The purpose of the conference is for the ANC branches in the region to thrash out what led to their losing the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality to a DA-led coalition.
Jonas said: “One of the things that has happened over the years in the movement is the growing erosion of the capcity to reflect on what we have been confronted with. We have gone through a period where politics have been denuded of politics.
“The recent election results confirm what we already know. That our movement is trouble. Having just lost control over the economic hubs of our country and with knowledge that the demographic trends are against us. Urbanisation, the growing youth population and growing poverty levels. As a movement we are at a point where we need a sober introspection.
“Muddling along as before will see us defeated in Gauteng, probably in 2019 and possibly out of power in 2028.”
“The starting point of reforming the movement will be to reach an agreement on what it is that we need to change and not simply who we need to change because that seems to be very convincing,” he said to stifled laughter.
Jonas said the organisation requires a process of rebirth and a common vision as the current ANC is made up of too many c ompeting perspectives on what strategic choices need to be made.
He said hardly a day goes by where the ANC does not contradict itself on key strategic issues, making it appear incoherent and without direction.
“The weakness of the ANC today is that there is no coherent narrative that is driven by the ANC and it both a function of weak leadership at all levels as well as weak structures of the movement as we do not engage in debating the challenges that confront us and how we can resolve the challenges.”
Jonas said patronage structures needed to be addressed as some are at the detriment of municipalities and state-owned enterprises.
Jonas said some municipalities and state-owned enterprises had lost capable leaders due to the ANC’s deployment policy.
Speaking on organisational renewal and factionalism, Motlanthe said the restructuring process needs to start at branch level where members have an obligation to speak out about any grievances.
“The ANC has a constitution. We have branches and they are properly constituted. But there has been a deviation from what our constitution states we should do.
“The ANC in this region must first properly reconstitute its branches.
“Then we can speak about renewal. You must constitute these branches according to the constitution of the ANC. That is the first thing to do,” he said.
He said the ANC has a responsibility to lay down a foundation for the future.
“ANC exists to address problems of our people. It it doesnt, we can start drafting its obituary.
” Organisations rise and fall. Nothing is static or permanent. A leader serves because members say so.”