THE ANC in Nelson Mandela Bay is pushing for regional and branch party leaders to be given more powers to discipline members who step out of line. Ill-discipline in its ranks has eroded the ANC’s image and, in some cases, created rampant factionalism that has badly affected service delivery.
Currently, regional leaders have to apply to the provincial disciplinary committee to be given powers to discipline a member who has transgressed.
In an interview with The Herald on the sidelines of the ANC national policy conference in Johannesburg yesterday, regional secretary Zandisile Qupe said they were proposing that the system be reviewed as it was not working.
They argue that disciplinary processes by provincial or national party structures are often too long and involved and they undermine the powers of those who are tasked to lead at ground level.
"The problem is that some people abuse that. They will go and appeal to the national appeals disciplinary committee and that undermines the powers of the local structures,” Qupe said.
"Most provinces here agree that disciplinary processes of the ANC take a long time, and if we are to root out ill-discipline, this has to change.”
The provincial working committee is currently investigating a dispute lodged by several members in the Bay who boycotted a regional conference where Nceba Faku was re-elected as chairman. The committee must determine whether those members, who support mayor Zanoxolo Wayile, were in fact ill-disciplined or whether they had legitimate grievances.
Provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane has previously slammed the boycott, saying the members disrespected the mandate given to them by branches.
Qupe said the conference was also discussing rules for lobbying for leadership positions.
"What we are saying is that lobbying must only start when it is allowed by the ANC. At the moment there is an understanding by the [national executive committee] that lobbying for Mangaung should only be opened in October.
"However, you get members and provinces who are already declaring their support for one leader or the next.”
Qupe said they were arguing for this to not only be an understanding but to be put down in the constitution of the party, with sanctions for those who talked succession prematurely.
Qupe said discussing leadership too early often hijacked the party’s agenda of development.
"You then find that if a leader is tasked with driving a certain programme, those who oppose the leader then reject whatever programme he/she is driving, not because of its merits, but because they do not want the person leading it.”