The ANC is in trouble and is in danger of imploding. This was the collective message from Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas and former president Kgalema Motlanthe.
They spoke at the ANC regional consultative conference in Port Elizabeth at the weekend.
The two politicians described the ANC as a party that had lost its way and needed an immediate overhaul.
Jonas said some of the solutions to tackling the challenges included ensuring macroeconomic stability, tackling youth unemployment and reinvigorating state capabilities and capacity.
“One of the dangers we face is the erosion of state capabilities and state capacity. We must understand that most of the [solutions] we talk about are largely dependent on a state that is capable and has the requisite skills in order to drive this agenda.”
He said capable managers were being pushed out of municipalities.
“In state-owned enterprises we have a similar tendency.”
He said the local government election results confirmed the ANC was in trouble.
“Muddling along as before will see us defeated in Gauteng, probably in 2019, and possibly out of power in 2028,” he said.
“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,” Jonas said to stifled laughter.
He said hardly a day went by where the ANC did 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 is 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.”
Speaking on organisational renewal and factionalism, Motlanthe said the restructuring process needed to start at branch level where members had an obligation to speak out about grievances.
“The ANC exists to address problems of our people. If it doesn’t, we can start drafting its obituary.
“Organisations rise and fall. Nothing is static or permanent. A leader serves because members say so,” he said.
Speaking during a media briefing, ANC regional task team coordinator Beza Ntshona said the conference had been successful.
He said the ANC had reflected on its poor performance in the recent elections and the party had decided to expand its membership base, improve its structures and start a cadre development programme.
“We need to make the ANC attractive again for the white community, the coloured community and those in the townships,” he said.
“We need to work on these things before the ANC regional elective conference.”
Responding to a question from the media, ANC regional task team convener Vuyani Limba said opposition leader Danny Jordaan’s recent absence from council meetings and this weekend’s conference was as a result of illness.