The renewal of the ANC properly defined 

The South African state is leading in many wrong categories and failing in many others that ideally it should be excelling in. South Africa boasts the largest population of HIV positive people on earth, and we have now risen to number seven in the Global Organised Crime Index 2023.  

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana, in his medium-term policy statement in November last year, made some chilling observations regarding how the country’s economy has been eroded and stagnated since 2009. 

In his view, South Africa has not been able to raise enough revenue to cover all its expenses since the 2008 global financial crisis. 

The reality is that the GDP growth rate has remained far below the 5.4% planned in the National Development Plan (NDP)since 2008 until now.  

To this day the country has failed to achieve a 2% GDP growth. This has opened a gaping half a trillion rands annual shortfall on the fiscus, which is then borrowed yearly, and a large interest burden has arisen because the GDP is not growing.  

 Our GDP growth rate is going to stay below 2% in the coming years and there are no known plans, projects, or programmes to move it to a 5.4% GDP growth rate. 

There is evidence that the state procurement systems are losing between R6-billion and R12.5-billion per month. Many eminent ANC leaders are crying out in public that the looting and wasting of state resources is out of control.  

In 2007, Kgalema Motlanthe, then ANC secretary-general, lamented the ANC’s decay. 

“This rot is across the board. It’s not confined to any level or any area of the country. Almost every project is conceived because it offers opportunities for certain people to make money. A great deal of the ANC’s problems is occasioned by this.” 

 The organisation has long identified the problem that it is steadily being taken over by many careerists, opportunists, criminals and entrepreneurs of various kinds, whose principal object is self-enrichment, and not to serve the masses, or the values of the organisation.  

 The National General Council of 2000, and the document, “Through the Eye of a Needle”, of 2001 as well as an ANC parliamentary caucus Lekgotla led by Mbulelo Goniwe in 2005, concluded that the average ANC cadre was not fit for purpose, and as a result the ANC was going off track morally and in terms of competent service delivery.  

The ANC NEC admitted publicly and in writing that the ANC must take some responsibility for the prevalent corruption taking place in the country. 

 In fact, there was a mini economic boom in the period 2004 to 2008, under ANC leadership.  

The main difference since then was that several deserving and highly competent state employees and ANC members had been systematically removed from their jobs in the state.  

 Themba Maseko, who was removed from his position as the CEO of the Government Communication and Information System by former president Jacob Zuma, is one example among too many purges executed at that time.  

The current court case regarding cadre deployment highlights that the allocation of human resources into critical state functions has been the entry point of the wide-ranging crime and corruption accompanied by incompetence, non-performance and the establishment of the gangster state.  

By 2019 Robert McBride, then head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, had identified that the security cluster was captured by political gangsters, and as we now know, we are one of the key centres of organised crime on earth. 

Thus, the need for the screening of all ANC members and the expulsion of all those who did not have the political DNA of Oliver Tambo, Albert Luthuli, and the successful ANC rather than a failing ANC. 

People who have been fingered by the Special Investigative Unit, the Zondo Commission, those who are doing business with the state, and fingered by the auditor-general and many with long pending disciplinary cases, must be removed from the ANC, and be given a chance to re-apply for membership after three years of rehabilitation.  

Renewal, therefore, must be about the stripping of the ANC of excess baggage of criminals – the corrupt, the incompetent and the lazy. Then the resources, processes and structures of the ANC and the state will start to perform optimally once again. 


  • Swana is a political analyst, an academic and a member of the 70s Group

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