Former African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe says there would have been no need for the step-aside resolution had the governing party implemented its own constitution on malfeasance and lack of discipline.
Motlanthe was speaking to the media on the sidelines of the Party’s 6th National Policy Conference at the Nasrec Expo Centre, south of Johannesburg.
Some party members have lamented the implementation of the step-aside rule, claiming it is selective.
Ace Magashule, who is facing corruption charges, remains suspended as ANC secretary general for refusing to step-aside.
The ANC government’s failure to change people’s lives is often blamed on its failure to implement its own policies. The party is again blamed for its failure to consistently use the relevant sections of its constitution to deal with malfeasance and ill-discipline.
The ANC constitution is sufficient: Motlanthe
Motlanthe said had they used their constitution effectively to deal with the wrongs within their ranks, there wouldn’t have been any need to adopt the step-aside resolution as an instrument to deal with corruption by its members.
“The constitution of the ANC has a whole section that defines what constitutes offenses which trigger disciplinary process against any member. The problem is implementation”, says Motlanthe.
“As you know, discipline is only effective if it is underpinned by consistency because when you are inconsistent with the application, it undermines the entire process. Yes, the constitution of the ANC is sufficient to ensure all the malfeasance in the ANC are dealt with because they are actually defined in the ANC constitution”, he adds.
Video: ANC Policy Conference: Former president Kgalema Motlanthe speaks to SABC News
Political Analyst on the application of rules
The former presidents’ sentiments are shared by Political Analyst Angelo Fick who says that the selective application of rules is not a new phenomenon in the ANC, but its consequences are more dire as the party loses electoral support.
“If you have a selective application in a party that has diminishing returns in the electorate or from the electorate, what you have is a greater unhappiness and more infighting because people are now fighting over positions and that gives them access to state”, he says.
“If you want to run an organisation and you want procedural fairness, you also have to have administrative equality.If you don’t have administrative equality, all of your processes will be questionable and not questionable from the outside but from the inside as well. And once those processes become questionable to those on the inside you see the alienation from actual procedural fairness that you are seeing, not just in the ANC but elsewhere in the so-called left movement”, says Fick.
Again Motlanthe bemoaned the capacity of their Integrity Committee saying it needs to be strengthened insisting its recommendations are not binding and sometimes remain with the office of the Secretary General.
“The weakness in the system is that their recommendations are submitted to the office of the Secretary General and it ends there. So they have no authority to ensure that the NEC actually acts on their recommendations. That’s something that may have to be strengthen by giving them the original authority because at the moment, they are a sub-structure of the NEC. I think they do need the original authority from conference itself so that their recommendations are given effect”, says Motlanthe.
Fick says it is immaterial where the mechanism to deal with members accused of corruption is located, insisting that has to be implemented.
“This is not just about duplication of rules, this is about implementing the rules and giving strength to the rules and their affectability because if you can’t affect the rules, it does not matter whether the rules are in your constitution or whether additional policies reduplicate the constitution.”
“If those rules are not being empowered by the committees, then what you sit with is the malaise. This is not to denigrate people but to say if you wish to take yourself seriously in the reform process, there are some hard truths you have to tell yourself. It is not just about quibbling about the rules and whether they are outside the constitution or inside the constitution it is about effecting wherever they are those rules to make sure that they serve the organisations continuity and longevity better”, says Fick.
Video: ANC Policy Conference | Analyst Angelo Fick unpacking some of the talking points