THE Mangaung conference should focus on the developmental spirit of criticism between leaders and members. They must remember that criticism is neither to speak ill nor to engage in intrigues.
It should be the act of expressing an open, candid opinion in front of those concerned, on the basis of facts and in a spirit of fairness.
The problems began around 1994 when the ANC became a ruling party. Pre-1994 the ANC had disciplined and dedicated activists at the core of the mass democratic movement.
It was guided by selflessness, sacrifice and cadres, including MK and underground operatives. The members knew the conduct of the struggle, and the attainment of freedom was through detention, torture, death and disappearance of our cadres.
These were scary moments to discourage people from participating in such risky ventures for the ill-defined liberation. The revolutionaries never knew when freedom would come, but lived with the threat to life and limb.
Because of the commitment to the finality of the revolution, comrades soldiered on. Let me reflect on what derailed the process and what lessons there are for the movement to learn. There was a shift from the reaffirmation of the working class and the poor being crowned the motivating force of the national democratic revolution by successive conferences of the ANC. We didn't know who would be so privileged to be selected and ordained into a clan of the nouveau riche.
Nor were the criteria published explaining the selection procedure. This was the launch of the programme for the bourgeois faction of the ANC and the consequent race for the theft of state resources, coupled with the disturbing manifestation of corruption.
In the post-Mafikeng ANC, within the dark corridors of power, the survival of careerism required a ruthless cult of leadership, that is patronage, and selective indifference to corruption and fraud.
The candidates for the top six positions in the ANC positions should make presentations at the organisation's national conference about their suitability to lead the organisation in the positions they seek election to. In this way, the ANC would have established a critical link between a five-year strategic programme and the need for 10 full-time NEC members in the office to drive the organisational agenda.
However the atmosphere is giving hope that President Jacob Zuma will win in Mangaung.
Therefore I suggest nominees must not orchestrate winner-take-all stances.
The elected officials should consists of think tankers and intellectuals. Prominent leaders like Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Joel Netshitenzhe, Gwede Mantashe, Xolile Nqatha, Kgalema Motlanthe, Baleka Mbete, Trevor Manuel and Fikile Mbalula must remain.
Both the ANC and society at large are increasingly yearning for leadership who sell their vision and articulate their proposed programmes, and are individually willing to be subjected to assessment for their leadership performance.
The ANC ought to produce a policy framework, rules and regulations that facilitate a more open individual ascension to leadership positions.
The situation wherein individuals emerge from behind the scenes to assume leadership position must be handled swiftly by the branches, who must abide by the ANC constitution to avoid violence.
Thabang Mokoena-Maseko, ANC branch member, Ward 20, Mdantsane, East London