The real ANC challenge
There are those in the party who believe 'it is now our turn to eat'
AT THE ANC national general council in 2005 the then secretary-general Kgalema Motlanthe presented an organisational report in which he decried the development of careerism among cadres of the party.
Motlanthe said the ANC was getting infested with individuals who saw the party as a stepping stone to a political career.
On Monday his successor, Gwede Mantashe, presented an organisational report at the party's national general council (NGC). He painted a picture of a ruling party in disarray - riddled with infighting, ill-discipline and greed.
He also complained about a situation in which individuals not suitable for positions of leadership were being elected to further factional and sectional economic interests.
The ANC, the Mantashe report said, was seen as an employment agency by individuals who see political office as a gateway to self-enrichment.
This has created a situation in which the election of party leaders is driven by factional interests, with those having access to resources buying votes for particular candidates. Just like the Kikuyu mafia of Kenya - there are those in the ruling party who believe "it is now our turn to eat".
This is the scenario painted at the NGC, which is supposed to be a midterm review of the ruling party's performance since its 2007 national elective conference.
Essentially the NGC is supposed to review how the ANC has implemented its mandate when it comes to issues such as economic transformation and improving the lives of the South African majority that has endorsed the party during the 2009 election.
The expectation is that the NGC will focus on this mandate and set a way forward to ensure that the commitments the leadership made in 2007 are actualised.
The unfortunate reality is that the above-mentioned scenario does impact on how the post-Polokwane leaders execute the mandate for the benefit of the silent majority - who are not necessarily members of the ANC but have put their confidence in the ruling party.
If indeed, in the words of political analyst Protas Madlala, access to resources has changed the type of leadership and membership the ruling party attracts the ANC has a bigger challenge to deal with. It is this challenge that will invariably impact on the outcome of the NGC.
If indeed we have a situation where the ANC is infested with individuals who only think for their stomachs, as Mantashe professes, the ruling party has a mammoth task ahead.
Already there are concerns that some individuals within the ANC - who spew radical statements about the need for transformation - are in fact driven by an ethos that says they can become rich, not with the poor, but on behalf of the poor.
Such perceptions will, for example, impact on how such individuals proclaim on issues such as black economic empowerment and nationalisation.
What is apparent is that the ANC does need a new kind of cadreship - cadres that are able to withstand the lure of political office as a means to self-enrichment, cadres driven by the kind of selflessness that drove ANC leaders such as Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela.
Not the kind of cadreship that sees nothing wrong in declaring that "they were not involved in the struggle to become poor".
The question is: are there still such leaders in the ANC or has the party, just like many other post-colonial ruling parties, fallen into the trap of self-aggrandisement at the expense of those they continue to claim to represent?
Maybe it is time to look to the council of elders in the ANC to lead the way. They must reclaim this movement of such noble history from the clutches of those who are overwhelmed by the lure of "new money" and conspicuous consumerism in the name of empowerment.
Will the likes of Zola Skweyiya, who is now high commissioner of SA in the UK, please stand up and lead this noble movement into the future that the Tambos and Mandelas aspired to.