ANC in the midst of an existential dilemma

The ANC is facing an existential crisis due to corruption and state capture, and its character as an agent of change is under “mortal threat”.

This warning is contained in one of the papers prepared for discussion at the party’s national general council next year.

In the document, it is noted that the ANC is increasingly losing trust and credibility in the eyes of citizens, who believe the governing party is not managing  state resources for their benefit.

People also no longer believe the ANC government has good plans in place to create jobs and change the economy, the paper notes.


“Many of these issues are not new, but the general agreement is that it has reached such a stage that it has led to an existential crisis for the ANC. Existential, not so much that the ANC may cease to exist, but that its historical role in the South African polity, its unity of purpose, values and standing among the people have been battered to such an extent due to the sins of incumbency, that its very character as a people’s movement and agent for change is under mortal threat,” the discussion document states.

The weakening of the state due to corruption deserves more attention, the paper notes, adding that the inclination for those who occupy public positions to enrich themselves is widespread.

“If not vigorously combated, it is destined to be the biggest threat to South Africa’s revolutionary change.”

The ANC NGC where corruption charges against secretary general Ace Magashule will loom large will also discuss the use of money in the party’s internal leadership contests.

The party’s Through the eye of the needle discussion paper notes that money has become the determining factor of who becomes an ANC leader.

The party faces two options when it comes to money: to regulate the use of cash for campaigning, an option that will see those with deep pockets leading the party or to revert to the core values of the organisation, where money plays no role in leadership contests, a situation that will see money continuing to be exchanged underground.

The use of money at conferences is at the heart of the ANC’s moral crisis, the paper notes.

“The reality is that there is no free lunch in any human endeavour. Those who paid for the candidate to secure a leadership position will very soon determine policy positions and expect to be first in the queue for tenders in the government.”

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