STATEMENT OF THE ANC NEC SUBCOMMITTEE ON ORGANISATIONAL DEVELOPMENT ON THE POLICY DOCUMENT ON ORGANISATIONAL RENEWAL AND DESIGN
23 April 2017
This morning the ANC turn its attention to the topic that goes to the heart and soul of the African National Congress (ANC). It is the turn of the ANC Sub-Committee on Organising and Mobilisisation to present the much awaited Organisational Renewal and Design Document to you. We begin by providing a synoptic perspective of the discussion document, and move on to contentious political topics for discussions and end with an emphasis on process matters.
The chief aim of the discussion document is to provoke robust debates within the structures of the ANC (African National Congress) and Alliance partners on the perennial questions of organisational renewal and organisational design challenge. The debate is premised on the political context of the origins of the ANC, the evolution of the movement, the attendant organisational ebbs and flows hitherto. An attempt is made at diagnosing the imperative for organisational renewal and inevitability of organisational design of the overall ANC architecture and organisational processes with a view to mitigate ideological degeneration and organisational paralysis. The debate is necessitated by the reality that naturally fortunes of all major political parties tend to ebb and flow over time. We interrogate the social factors and impulses that trigger the national debate and discourse on organisational renewal and design.
The discussion document approaches the debate from a historical and theoretical perspective and creates a platform for debates and ventures into specific recommendations in order to develop a Road Map to the National Policy Conference in June 2017 and ultimately the 54th National Conference in December 2017.
THE GENESIS OF ORGANISATIONAL RENEWAL IN CONTEMPORARY ANC
The Mafikeng ANC National Conference recognized that whereas the 1994 breakthrough ushered a completely new environment in the entire existence of the ANC, it has taken the organization some time to determine how to operate within this new context. Conference went further to articulate that “Though the democratic order has created opportunities for the organization that were barely considered possible five years ago, it has presented challenges for which many of the established practices and strategies seem inadequate”.
In recent history, the clarion call for organisational renewal was made at ANC’s National Conference in Polokwane after Conference observed the reality that we have been finding it difficult to comprehensively respond to the new conditions and challenges occasioned by the coming into power of the ANC as the leader of the democratic forces. It is back then in December 2007 Polokwane Conference that a ground-breaking resolution was adopted calling on the National Executive Committee to declare ‘a period of renewal’.
The 2010 National General Council (NGC) focused extensively on the tasks of organisational renewal and further resolved that decisive steps must be taken to reverse negative tendencies that are eroding the political integrity and moral standing of the ANC among our people. The NGC concluded that for renewal to succeed three conditions need to be met and these are: a resilient, courageous, principled and decisive leadership; a committed and conscious cadreship; an active civil society and mobilised population.
The 53rd Conference of the ANC in Mangaung elaborated on the strengths and weakness of the movement, and arrived at the conclusion that there is a need for the movement to embark on organisational renewal. The Conference reaffirmed the emphasis of the 4th National Policy Conference on the urgent need for renewal, recognising that renewal is principally about building the ANC’s resilience, enhancing its transformative and governance capacity and its ability to adapt to changing situations so that it can continue to serve and lead the people.
The continuous renewal of the ANC over the century of its existence has been guided by the nature and content of the struggle against apartheid colonialism and its legacy as elaborated in its Strategy and Tactics. The ANC has always understood that to lead the national democratic revolution successfully, it should continuously renew itself so that it remains relevant to the changing conditions of the struggle both locally and internationally.
The discussion document postulates a view that the conditions in which the ANC operates have changed thus necessitating a comprehensive review of the ANC structural design and organisational design. The review takes into account the current structural design, the Party constituent structures, ANC Parliamentary, Legislative, Council and caucuses’ functionality, efficiencies and effectiveness. We pose the question of whether, in light of subjective and objective challenges confronting the ANC, there is a discernable risk of organisational paralysis manifesting itself through among others perceived or real; fragmentation of the constituent parts of the ANC, Our entry points in this discussion are considerations of the salient political elements drawn from the Strategies and Tactics. We recognise that Organisational Renewal cannot be discussed outside our analysis of the current local and global balance of forces.
We argue that the ANC remains the leader in the processes for social change as demonstrated by our delivery since 1994. That said, the ANC must retain its dual character as a liberation movement and a political party. However, there are lessons to be learned from the Mass Democratic Movement’s appeal to a broad spectrum of sectors and strata, elevating mass mobilisation, sustained campaigns on bread and butter issues and entrenchment of organs of people’s power. We are of the view that the ANC can renew itself without losing its traditional outlook. Organisations exist within a political and ideological context; there is an urgent need to strengthen the organisational machinery to achieve the ANC’s historic mission.
The organisation must re-orientate itself, readjust and completely reorganise itself and its organisational machinery to be inclusive and representative in all its decision-making structures, at all levels/spheres in order for the organisation to be more responsive to the new demands of the current conjecture characterised by modern young, savvy and media literate captive markets and voter pools.
Modern organizations pay significant attention and resources to the capacity and interphase between its back-end office and front end office in pursuit of its organizational goals. These are complex systems-driven and people-driven organizational processes with change-drivers orchestrating the day-to-day functions in line with the overarching strategy of the organization, in line with the “change drivers” in the movement can only be effected to achieve a desired outcome if they are “driven” by a selected entity for a specifically “desired outcome” that will result in the “targeted action”.
The core processes of Organisational Renewal entail consolidating the organisational architecture of the ANC, policy formulation, monitoring and evaluation, relentless communication and the battle of ideas, political education and ideological training, constant engagement with the centres of power, flawless engagement with the motive forces, bolstering organising and campaigns, mass mobilisation as it relates to membership growth and election’s development.
The support processes are essentially the inside-out activities and programmes that support and defend the core mandate such as Human Resource Management, Financial Management, Fundraising, Research & Development (R&D), and Information & Communication Technology (ICT).
Organisational Renewal and Design in the ANC’s perspective is geared towards consolidating the ANC as a movement for social transformation and strategic centre of power. This debate will and must address the critical weaknesses of the ANC and the question of the optimal mobilisation of the motive forces for change. The paper is aimed at energising the structures of the ANC, of the Alliance partners, of the South African Civic Organisation (SANCO) and other youth, students and women progressive formations to engage the centres of power.
Of critical significance, the debate about the life and soul of the oldest liberation movement in the African Continent takes place as the African National Congress celebrates the centenary of the ANC’s longest serving President, Oliver Reginald Tambo. The movement deservedly declared 2017 the year of Oliver Tambo! It is incumbent on the cadres of this glorious movement to Deepen Unity of purpose during this period and beyond. The current generation owe it to Tambo.
Though there may be ebbs and flows, the ANC proceeds from the optimistic and realistic assessment that Africa is set on a new course of rapid economic growth and development. It promotes African integration and the alignment of developmental programmes across the continent.
The ANC proceeds from the understanding that the balance of forces in the global arena is not immutable. It is a function of objective conditions; but critically, it also depends on conscious action by the broad front of global progressive forces.
THE DANGERS AND ORGANISATIONAL SHORTCOMINGS
There are three main organisational shortcomings and dangers that continue to bedevil the ANC post-1994 period:
Firstly, the challenges of governance and political management of state power have been impacting on the character and values of the ANC as the movement for transformation and servant of the people. Due to the preoccupation with managing internal conflicts, the movement has not been mitigating the dangers that any governing party has to contend with and manage: The danger of social distance and isolation of the party from the masses; The danger of state bureaucratic and demobilisation of the masses; The danger of corruption and sins of incumbency; The danger of institutionalized factionalism, ill-discipline and disunity fuelled and inspired by the battles over the control of state power and resources; The danger of using state institutions to settle inner-party differences;
The danger of neglecting cadre policy; The danger of lack of capacity and capability to implement policies; the danger of gate-keeping and, bulk buying of membership; The danger of divisive slate electoral politics, wedge-drivers, and The danger of character and political assassinations and so on.
Secondly, the political life of the organisation revolves around insidious internal strife and factional battles for power. This is a silent retreat from the mass line to palace politics of factionalism and perpetual in-fighting. The internal strife revolves around contestation for power and state resources, rather than differences on how to implement the policies of the movement. This situation has shifted the focus of the cadres and members of the movement away from societal concerns and people’s aspirations. These circumstances have produced a new type of an ANC leader and member who sees ill-discipline, divisions, factionalism and in-fighting as normal practices and necessary forms of political survival. Drastic measures and consistent action against these negative tendencies are necessary to root out anarchy and decay.
Thirdly, the organisational capabilities – structure, systems and processes – do not match the tasks and demands of the current phase of the revolution. Although we have a presence of progressive policies and cadres in virtually all pillars of transformation, we are not deliberately building appropriate capabilities to mobilise, engage and lead the motive and progressive forces in these pillars, and therefore draw the linkages between pillar and sectoral processes and the overall national objective.
Unlike in the pre-1990 period, the ANC is not rapidly training and deliberately deploying competent cadres in accordance with the pillars of our current strategy and tactics.
Necessarily, the aim of organisational renewal is to comprehensively address all the challenges faced by our movement as it begins its second centenary.
KEY ISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR DISCUSSIONS AND FINAL RESOLUTION FOR IMPLEMENTATION
The ANC must consider detailed cadre policy that is underscored by organisational ethical and moral values. The policy must after adoption be infused or attached to the Code of Conduct of the organisation.
The ANC need as a matter of urgency to review its electoral processes in order allow for open contest and transparency. Cadres who make themselves available for public office or are nominated must be prepared for their names and manifestos to be subjected to the scrutiny of the ANC structures and their constituencies.
The ANC must conduct a massive SKILLS AUDIT at all levels amongst its employees and cadres with the objective of assessing their suitability and/or competencies. Subsequent to this, a comprehensive training and development programme must be a design to build the intellectual capital of the ANC structures at all levels (branch, region, province and national)
The ANC should consider bolstering the capacity of the office of the Secretary General as the engine of the organization, focusing on managing the core function of the organization. For this office to perform this crucial task effectively, it will have to employ highly skilled persons with managerial skills, to coordinate the overall functioning of the office. This will also include coordinating the programmes performed by all the departments and units under the office of the Secretary General.
The document recommends that the Head Office of the ANC must radically grow a host of capacities that we do not have today at head office.
The head office must strengthen the Organizing and Mobilisation Department in order to establish sector mobilisation, paying particular attention to labour, NGO’s, and business. The Organising and Mobilisation Department must conduct a review of youth and women organisational work together with the youth and women’s leagues.
The document recommends that the NEC must be reduced to a sizeable NEC comprising of tried and tested cadres of the movement, balanced by youth and women activists. These are cadres who will be selected on the strength of their political and ideological development in order make a meaningful contribution to the implementation of ANC policies.
The NEC, PECs and RECs, of the organisation need to be driven by strong leadership as sign of the ideological and political maturity, and rigour of our incubation and training organisational institutions (i.e. The Political Education Schools and support to cadres for academic achievement and intellectual pursuit). The discussion on the size and composition of the NEC should include a discussion on ensuring that ANC leaders are found in all sectors of society; i.e. civil society, business sector, academia and others. This will assist the organisation in developing and maintaining its position as leader of society. In this connection we are recommending that the organisation should take a firm decision that NOT more the 65% of NEC Members should serve in the Cabinet and Provincial Legislatures.
The establishment of the Integrity Committee is welcome. However, there must be a distinction between the Integrity Committee and the Revolutionary Electoral Commission that is being recommended. The Revolutionary Electoral Commission that must be established post Conference as per previous resolution will ensure the screening of cadres and recommending to the Deployment Committee ideologically grounded and intellectually developed cadres for servicing the people of South Africa.
In the connection, a careful balance or combination of experience of tried and tested cadres, on the one hand and bright young minds, on the other, will bring dynamism and nurture the new cadre.
The ANC should position the Veterans League as a Council of elders whose main political function would be to provide advice and counsel to the structures and leadership of the ANC. It therefore follows that due to the special place the veterans occupy in the ANC, the veterans should not contest leadership positions within the ANC.
The ANC must of necessity consider reviewing the current branch system and allow for the establishment of branches or constitutionally recognised units at institutions of higher learning and training, workplaces and gated communities. The current demarcation is stunting organisational growth and limiting contact and influence.
It is recommended that the current territorially based branches (ward based) remain the main form of ANC branch organisation; however allowance must be made for another form of branches namely “sectoral or institutional branches”. These must be established by the RECs where it is deemed viable. These could cover places of big population concentration where individuals (voters) share common interests or peculiar traits; exclusive communities such as university campuses and huge workplaces (corporate institutions, parastatals, etc).
ANC Regions/sub-regions should consider as their primary tasks the engagement of civil society in their domains. This will ensure that the organisation looks after all centres of power and is geared to engage all motive forces.
In view of the above, it is imperative to consider allocating original powers and administrative resources to this level, so it can act as an effective centre for branches; an administrative “warehouse” for all branches.
It strongly recommended that Provinces must focus on the centres of power and all the motive forces. The province must establish sector committees and support centres of power consciously. Provincial offices should mirror the structural reorganization that will be effected by head office.
It is recommended that the NEC policy sub-committees must be linked to the policy institutes as a feeder. Furthermore, head office staff that is responsible for policy and other policy functions such as research, should be incorporated into the policy institute.
It is recommended that NEC sub committees and NEC policy sub-committees and other sub-committees must serve as interface nodes of the organisation with broader public in order to bring their political and technical competencies to bear in the sectors of their work.
In this context, executives of the ANC at all levels from branch to province, must be structured in accordance with their responsibility to intervene and provide leadership to all centres of power, viz. the state, civil society, the economy, the battle for ideas and the continental and global arena.
The Organising and Mobilisation Department responsibility must be broken down into targeted sections dealing with different sectors and segments of our motive forces e.g. labour, Youth, Business. In other words, the organizing department must as a matter of principle have sectoral work as one of its core-mandate. The implications of this are that units such as the religious desk must no longer operate as separate entities but should be incorporated to the Organizing and Mobilising Department.
The question National Policy Conference must answer is how ANC members can hold the cadres and leaders accountable for the implementation of Conference resolutions and Programme of Action (PoA). What mechanisms and systems should the Conference introduce in order to monitor implementation and outcomes? In our considered view, there must be consequences for dereliction of duty or failure to execute by cadres and members of the organisation. A related question is how do we build a culture of urgency wherein deployees take initiative and spearhead transformation without being reminded or monitored?
Regional and provincial structures of the ANC have a pivotal role to play in supporting progressive community initiatives and government programmes. Support by way of resources and monitoring branch and regional work and help develop Programmes of Action and strategies for pertinent sectoral and community work. Setting minimum standards of what a branch should achieve. Setting performance indicators manage and monitor, implement corrective measures when needed, also monitor and direct work in government.
All levels of the leadership organs of the ANC must accommodate core and support functions / processes in their structures
With respect to the ANC the ANC Caucuses, Parliamentary, Legislative and Council possibly the biggest challenge is to design an appropriate structure for the management of both government and legislature work, an area which did not exist before 1994 in our work but has today become our main pre-occupation, the premier pillar of our struggle.
The ANC exists and functions in an environment that demands instant decision-making, in this context integration, inculcating a culture of a learning organisation and information sharing is imperative. The practice of designating a function and issuing mandates without consideration to human resources and financial implication is contributing to organisational and administrative paralysis. The National Policy Conference must pronounce on possible revenue streams that are sustainable. It therefore follows that form must follow content in that size must be determined by objective conditions and the stage at which the structure and cadres are operating in relation to the ideological dexterity and political development.
Membership development and management is at the centre of the existence of any political organisation or party. This is more so in electoral politics. It is not an exaggeration to say some of the weaknesses which emanated from the inability to devise appropriate administrative procedures transcended into political difficulties for the organisation. The ANC must fast-track implementation of the electronic membership system.
A policy on how the ANC relates to social media and related aspects of is developed by our communication cadres for approval at the Conference.
It is re-iterated that the proposed Political Education Schools and support to cadres for intellectual development and ideological training be implemented.
It is incumbent upon the regional and provincial to ensure that political induction and ideological training is provided as part of the reception and on-going training of the ANC cadres. The NEC must ensure that the content, method and procedure for delivering political education is uniform in its application all the structures. The regions and provinces should monitor the implementation and delivery of political education.
Provision should be made for alternative delivery mechanisms such as study groups and distant learning with internet or DVDs and should be rolled out from 2017 to encourage study groups in branches and caucuses and provide universal access. Regions/sub-regions should have as one of their primary tasks the engagement of civil society, the state and business in their domains. Again this will ensure that the organisation looks after all centers of power and is geared to engage all motive forces. This is the ideal level/sphere for driving programmes of the tripartite alliance.
Efforts should be made to strengthen the Veterans League and ensure that they become the lifeblood of the African National Congress. Twenty years into the new democracy, the ANC have not adequately taken care of the plight of the veterans of uMkhonto We Sizwe. A majority of these former combatants have been relegated to margins of society, trapped in a vicious circle of unemployment and poverty.
Our revolutionary conscience dictate that the ANC redouble its efforts to restore the dignity of former combatants and ensure that they too are in the forefront of defending the gains of the democratic breakthrough and benefit from opportunities arising from positive change in our society. The strengthening of uMkhonto We Sizwe Military Veterans League remains an important strategic task.
A one stop ANC portal infrastructure should be rolled out to reconnect ANC to the people and membership. It must contain all relevant policy and other documents/ it should have a page where members, cadres and supporters can advise or express their views on various matters. It must have a team of dedicated administrators who can provide a personalised service to those who want to keep in contact with the ANC. Such a portal should be designed in a manner that membership application can be processed and confirmed instantly, and have automated sms system that facilitates communication between ANC and its members and supporters.
The ANC should have a fully automated electronic recruitment and membership management system. This system should be centrally commanded from the National office but provide visibility and dashboard to the branches, regions and provincial structures of the African National Congress.
The use of technology in the elections process requires advancement of codification using tools like the ANC cloud for effective monitoring of the election processes.
Chairperson: ANC NEC SubCommittee on Organisational Development