The North West Conference: An intellectual failure on the part of the movement's NEC My affection for the movement has become less emotional and more rational in recent years. In the past, it would be extremely painful when the movement fragmented and Comrades were at each other's throats. However, it no longer hurts because I now realize that these fights have nothing to do with the ANC and everything to do with self-preservation. They have nothing to do with the ANC or its status in society, but rather with individuals who wish to cling to power or oust them for selfish motives.
My pragmatic self is more aware of these shenanigans and is more on the lookout for those who preach renewal while nothing in their actions attests to renewal; we are served more of the same comrades who have mastered ineffective rhetoric, which leads the organization nowhere; the NEC and its deployees serve as examples. An Interim Provincial Committee is given full rights and responsibilities to govern a province. The IPC, which previously had limited responsibilities, is now a fully interested body with voting rights and everything. Was it not obvious that, as an interim structure, they would seek to achieve a result that favors them, their cronies, and their disciples? Why hasn't the ANC National Executive Committee studied and internalized the landmark judgement and incorporated it into its constitutional rules governing the conduct of elective conferences?
The ANC is not only a structure with a constitution, but also a body whose constitution is subject to the broader laws and regulations of the country and whose provisions can be challenged in court. It appears that the highest decision-making body of the movement has not given much thought to how it should operate in this new environment of court challenges and, in particular, how to incorporate the various court rulings into our regulations.
This apparent failure, which in my view is a failure of thinking and leadership, has a profound effect on the capacity of the movement's leadership and cadres to engage in building the organization and participating actively in its constitutional structures. This failure of thinking at the level that matters most, the NEC, also affects internal discipline, which in this sense, does not simply refer to adhering to the organization's code of conduct; it also refers more broadly t o adherence to the organization's values. It refers to the participation of all cadres in the creation, implementation, and evaluation of programs. How can we interact with the comrade or group that attempted to thwart the Northwest meeting but only succeeded in preventing the Interim Provincial Committee's delegates from attending the conference they organized?
The intensity of these internal power fights has become comical in the eyes of the public; they are also costly, both in terms of time squandered and the party's political currency; they must be stopped because the ANC is being drained of resources and losing support. The leadership on both sides must assess the situation and determine who is more vital to the survival of the ANC: a leader who has lost all credibility or the membership left out in the cold. Otherwise, the power struggle becomes all-consuming, leaving the electorate behind as we focus on internal issues.
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