The African National Congress (ANC) is experiencing serious constraints when it comes to policy making and implementation, claims political analyst Ralph Mathekga. The ruling party gathered for its 4th National General Congress (NGC) in Midrand over the past weekend, aiming to ‘review’ the current state of policies accepted during the party’s last National Conference in 2012.
The supposed constraints come in both local and international form, with questions as to whether current party policies are yielding much success on a local front. Internationally, planned or potential policies are also being challenged by foreign influences.
“A good example is the private security bill that has been proposed that seeks to transfer 61% of ownership of security companies to local owners. There is already uproar from the Americans and the business sector in SA that says it is going to discourage investors,” explained Mathekga, highlighting the sorts of challenges the party has had to face in implementing new policies.
Looking at the outcome of the NGC, Mathekga said much of the resolutions focused on maintaining policies currently accepted by the party, some of which have been described as contentious.
“Those contentious policy positions, they seem to be going ahead with them. Coming out of this the ANC is not better off, and it does not give a sense of trust to the observers and even stakeholders,” he stated.
Amongst the major resolutions taken from the NGC are the ANC’s renewed attempts to decrease the number of provinces, the eradication of the provincial sphere of government, a reaffirmation of its support for the Palestinian struggle and recommendations that the country lead a continental withdrawal from the International Criminal Court.
“South Africa is born out of the culture of human rights. I don’t think it should be so easy for a party to just decide to walk away from a body such as that. What does that say about the reputation of South Africa? What does that say about our commitment to international instruments and human rights?” he questioned.
Mathegka also said noted that the party was losing touch with much of its voter-base, with party membership dwindling at an alarming rate. To address this, he suspected the party need revisit its structures, and the manner in which member’s progress through the party ranks towards leadership positions.
“The ANC has a strong traditional ideal of; you have to begin from the root and belong to a specific branch, and serve a certain amount of time within it. Maybe that structure just doesn’t fit modern members. Maybe a modern member wants to be assessed on what they’re capable of, not how long they’ve served,” he added. VOC