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Let's debate ANC leaders - Mbalula

By Fikile Mbalula | Feb 23, 2012 | COMMENTS [ 83 ]

Generational mix is our guiding principal

THE debate about the future leadership of the ANC rages on.

This despite repeated indications by the current leadership that such debate should be deferred until a few weeks before the next congress in Mangaung.

Various leaders of the ANC have used several platforms to argue the merits and demerits of what has been termed "generational mix" as a principle of approaching leadership in the ANC.

Others have used these platforms to rubbish the principle, insinuating that engaging in such debate is political opportunism.

Others are brave to flatly deny that the ANC's leadership has been based on this principle over the years.

The reality is that even the comrades who deny the validity of the principle of generational mix are themselves beneficiaries of it.

They are agitated because those who have raised this debate have at the same time mentioned their preferred candidates.

A mature response to the debate about generational mix should be one that sets aside the names that have been presented and looks at the merit of this approach as a genuine attempt to use principles for electing leaders at the next congress. We should not devour principle because of political expediency!

The ANC has embraced the need for integration of leaders of various generations at each epoch of the revolution.

In other instances, those of previous generations have even stepped aside and given the helm to younger generations, once they proved themselves to be worthy of leading the movement.

A few examples in recent history are comrade Thabo Mbeki, who took leadership ahead of some elders because most people were happy with his performance.

Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa led the ANC alongside the generation of Nelson Mandela after contesting Alfred Nzo, the longest-serving secretary general of the ANC.

Thus generational mix should not be understood merely on the basis of age but also the role a person has played over the years, which makes both older and younger generations comfortable with him/her taking over a leadership role in the ANC.

And when the leadership of each generation takes over, it should be based on having achieved high levels of political maturity and intellectual zest arising from long years of service in the various structures of the movement.

Over and above this, the issue of leadership should be approached from the point of view of the challenges facing the ANC in the current period.

Denying South Africans this opportunity would result in the media hijacking the agenda for debating leadership in the ANC and would influence the discussion at convenient platforms.

If the media are left to deal with this matter on their own, journalists will inevitably find creative ways to set comrades against each other.

It does not take a highly learned professor to observe that the prevailing conditions are those of high levels of poverty, unemployment, a weak public education system and an ageing health infrastructure.

And this is the observation in the January 8 statement.

To address these challenges the ANC needs a leadership that can respond equally to the task.

Some have opted to refer to this as the need for a generational mix. The point has been made that the world is fast affirming younger leaders at the helm, who have the requisite energy and drive to fast-track development.

In the context of South Africa, the point has been made that to deal with these challenges the ANC should adopt a radical economic transformation programme.

What is important is to reflect on these positions rather than dismiss them.

In my view, the period between 1994 and now can be interpreted as the healing years of our democracy, when South Africa was attempting to formulate a non-racial society, moving away from being a polarised nation.

Leaders of various formations adopted a pact at Codesa that was meant to guide this task of rebuilding a divided country.

From the ANC we chose our best leaders and placed them in the front line of this new stage in our revolution.

While the ANC largely adhered to the commitments in the Codesa pact, others did not come along and deviated so much from it that the result has been the continued widening of the gap between rich and poor, still along racial lines.

White people remain largely in charge of the economy, with little impact having been generated by Black Economic Empowerment This is still felt by the majority of black people.

In an attempt to dissuade the ANC from getting tough with those who frustrate integration, some within the white community engineered a brain-drain phenomenon and encouraged the exodus of white professionals to foreign lands.

This was done in protest against attempts by the ANC to empower blacks to bring about equality and redress the imbalances of the past.

Fortunately, these experiments have failed and most of these professionals who were misled are coming back home in large numbers.

So we are at a point in our struggle where both black and white South Africans now fully understand that there is no other way of creating a new nation other than to cooperate and build bridges rather than continue to fool one another into believing that all is well.

We have to give praise to the ANC elders who helped us through this difficult healing period.

In many instances they have had to justify to an impatient black community why they were not pushing hard enough for change and transformation.

But now that the healing period should be considered to have been given its chance, one can argue that we have to open a chapter in the new century of the ANC that the period will be defined by radical transformation.

Economic emancipation of the previously and currently disadvantaged should be at the centre of this new part of our struggle.

Leadership is dynamic and should not be debated only based on congresses. What the ANC should discuss is how to reposition itself to be able to guide its leadership into looking far into the future and not merely look to a congress in a few months time.

The question has to be asked whether in their current form the structures of the ANC allow for smooth changes in leadership.

The fact that some positions have been traditionally associated with succession may not be healthy for the organisation.

Should it always follow that because you are a deputy president you automatically qualify as a candidate for president?

How do we deal with expectations of this nature that have been raised by the manner in which we have interpreted these positions ourselves?

Should the organisation not be smart enough and act in ways that remove these obvious expectations?

As Gauteng has begun the discussion, should not we create more positions of deputy secretary along specific responsibilities such as deputy secretary of organising, deputy secretary of political education, deputy secretary of organisation and mobilisation, and so on?

Isn't this a better way of creating a larger pool from which to draw a new secretary general than the current structure?

Shouldn't provincial chairpersons be considered to form part of the National Working Committee (NWC) so that the provinces can play a role in the intervening periods between NECs and thereby bring balance to the NWC?

These are discussion points about the leadership of the ANC that have no connotation to names of individual comrades but have the potential to affect the future leadership of the organisation in a positive way.

It does not help to deny the assertion that a younger leadership should exist alongside some elders because this is already happening in our organisation at the lower structures such as provinces and regions.

Soon this will become a non-issue and we will have missed the opportunity to give political and intellectual content to the kind of programmes and agendas this new leadership ought to define itself by.

I hope this input will not be mischievously interpreted to mean opening the leadership debate related merely to Mangaung, but will be dealt with from the broader context of leadership challenges as they pertain to those that confront the movement as it enters a new phase of struggle.

Generational mix is a principle of the ANC. It has guided the ANC, including in deploying cadres to various positions such as to Cabinet and other front lines.

To deny it is conveniently untruthful.

  • Mbalula is a national executive committee member of the ANC. He writes in his personal capacity.

COMMENTS [ 83 ]

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Mmualebe

the gathering is revolutionary because it tells the truth about how we feel chief!!!! you havent explained the misunderstanding im struggling with regarding the ANC constitution and ANCYL constitution

Feb 23, 2012 11:14 | 0 replies

SeshegoGuY
Hmmmmm..... Is this the Calibre of our Leaders today???

Lets see: After the Budget Speech, Shouldn't we be discussing how we can be able to "Manage" our Country??

Why is he silent on the Limpopo issue?

He never mentioned anything about Corruption??

Why is the so much obsession with Power in the ANC??
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The man is talking about the ANC not your Limpopo or goverment corruption. Read again.

Good point Mbalula, I agree with you, being a deputy president must not gurantee anyone the presidency, and all positions for that matter. We must have a pool of cadres to pick from.

Feb 23, 2012 12:23 | 0 replies


iafrica
23-02-2012

President Jacob Zuma on Thursday said the ANC Youth League was subordinate to the ANC and could not tell the ANC what to do.

He was speaking at a meeting of the National Union of Metalworkers.

ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema is still waiting to hear his final sentence from the ANC's National Disciplinary Committee.

Zuma said that when the ANC formed the youth league, it chose its name carefully.

"The name is not the youth league or the youth league of the ANC. It is the ANC Youth League."

He said the league's relationship with the ANC was clear.

"Its activities must be subordinate to the ANC's activities."

Malema had claimed that the league was autonomous.

Feb 23, 2012 12:38 | 0 replies

No lets talk corruption,joblessness and poor service delivery first.

Feb 23, 2012 12:42 | 0 replies

Mbalula, dont be an idiot.

Your guiding principles should be selflessness, intelligence, and those pretty things.

Not your generational mixing.

Feb 23, 2012 12:43 | 0 replies

ANC generalional mix + ANC cadre deployment + ANC incompetence = failed state.
The issue over generational mix is just a way of getting to the top quickly. It is power politics in disguise. Nothing in the ANC is ever without smoke and mirrors.

Feb 23, 2012 12:53 | 0 replies

Nditsheni,
The rasing of the debate is a strategic means to again positions and determing who support who. Mr Mbalula is uncertain of his future position with the organisation, he is trying to make one in the name of the debate.
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That is precisely my issue; those who are raising this debate do so because they think they stand to benefit from this debate should it eventually inform policy, it is not raised for genuine reasons or to enhance the party’s ability to deliver to the masses.

For me the leadership debate starts with examining the status quo and identifying impediments to progress. Without a shadow of a doubt the first point is the practice of slates and by association the emergence of destructive factions that rob the ANC of capable leaders simply because they are aligned with the wrong clique. It is obvious that the party came out of Polokwane badly bruised and this has impacted on service delivery because ability was overlooked and replaced by patronage. Skills retention and personal fit is key to the success of the ANC, not the age of the candidate.

Fikile is a true and true factionalist going as far as watch the ANCYL mock the president of the party, he has watched as ill-disciplined YL members sing the shower song therefore one should how exactly do a leader who does not seem to value discipline and working towards a common goal qualify to lead the party especially given his deafening silence on corruption. Brett Kebble and his association with Mbalula’s ANCYL is still fresh in my mind, how do I trust you Mbalula when you seem to associate yourself with individuals of questionable integrity?

Feb 23, 2012 12:56 | 0 replies

SETLASM

....you make some very pertinent points and so do others on this topic today.

Fikile has compromised himself along with Madikizela, Sexwale, Phosa and Mothlante by availing themselves for abuse by the Malema faction.

It is expected of people in the ANC, particularly NEC members that they act in a responsible manner and express unity and confidence to the people of Mzansi. When NEC members openly defy themselves and are divisive amongst each other, they do a lot of damage to the ANC.

JZ would do well to ensure that S9 instututions operate independantly of the Party and that Treasury be placed at the forefront of establishing an efficient and accountable Public Service with the capacity of delivering on the objectives of the Budget......I think in the past few months we have seen these trends developing and hope to see some high profile Public figures jailed for fraud shortly.

Mbeki set Mzansi on the path of a failed state by undermining all institutions of State for his own selfish interests, his AU policy was distorted by his weird prejudices with consideration to principle.

Mothlante is the cause of the leadership crisis in the ANC as he doesn't have an opinion on anything. He never supported Mbeki in his struggles with JZ and Malema; instead undermined him as he is now doing by tacidly accepting Malemas support for the presidency in Mangaung 2012, thus throwing the NEC into crisis.

In addition for 10 years as SC of the Party in Luthuli House, he was a lost voice, allowing the demise of the Party to unfold....his current partner, Gugu Mtshali was Mathews Phosa's personal assistant at Luthuli House and they had an extra-marital (what example does this set for the nation!!) from 2002 while he was SC (probably why he was so quiet). Now she is a business woman, was one of the handful of BBBEE beneficiaries of Imperial Crown Trading who stood to share a total of 9 billion from the Sishen deal....has a number of company directorships and started Mothopele Business Holdings with some cadres...nice one sista!!!!!

Nobody in the ANC is saying JZ is perfect, but until we restore some stability to the Party and remove people who are bent of self enrichment even if it means destroying the ANC, JZ will remain for another term come Mangaung!!!!!!! People here in KZN 100% support JZ currently because they have seen and do not appreciate what Malema, Fikile and their cadres from Limpopo have done to the image of the Party....they also see that this fight for the trough is delaying the provision of services to their poor communities and are very angry!!!

Feb 23, 2012 1:1 | 0 replies

jeedo
I agree with Fikile Mbalula 100%. In fact the ANC must adopt a programme of moving away from being led by comrades who are still having a hangoverf of fighting wars relating to apartheid. We need a new appealing strategy to fast track delivery and making peoples lives better. In fact the talks about new leadership should start after each conference, not to wait until last minute. We cannot, however achieve a new strategy with leaders like Julius Malema or hypocrisy. Malema is Mbalula's making, so Malema wants to make Mbalula. Mbalula is still entangled in immature politics, we need a new crop of leaders but not Mbalula. ANC has a lot of capable cadres. Presidents and other leaders should not own positions or engage in gangster politics. Mantashe may go, but he needs to be replaced with a level headed person who is not going to revive Malemaism. PERIOD!
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Ive never liked you but JEEDO FOR PRESIDENT!

Feb 23, 2012 1:14 | 0 replies

Mbalula is a very good leader but the only mistake he done was to assosiate himself with Julias Malema. Thy hav now ternished his name and thy ar no longer available to campagn for him. He is now raising this issue,he failed disown julius when he insulted anc leaders even when sometimes using his name.Generational mix means mixing leaders interms of age and years of political expiriences,it doen't speak of a particular position but refer to balance of comrades based on the hairachy of generations within the anc. For them generation mix is about Fikile becaming the general secretary.What about first he became the deputy secretary and then aim for a higher position in the next election after mangaung?What your friends done in Limpopo makes as suspisious and we can't just make you the general,be the deputy first does is a brotherly advice young man.

Feb 23, 2012 12:21 | 0 replies

Looking in the current ANC leadership one sees a generational mix, this happens even without people talking about it. From Jacob Zuma down to Mbalula, this in itself is a genarational mix. There is Jacob Zuma, who follows the Madiba/Sisulu/Mhlaba generation, Malusi Gigaba and Mbalula's generation, these guys are leaders and member of parliament with ministerial positions. The reason we have the Youth League is to prepare the right younger people to take over when the time is right. But the should not view themselves as king makers. Personally as a member of the Movement don't think the problem lies in whether there should be a debate or not, but more about the platforms and the manner in which this issue is handled. There is a lot of populism tendencies from the young people in general and other specific senior members, Tokyo amd Phosa to mention just a few. Now that leadership is being seen as a gateway to richness and in some instances abuse of power, thus necessitates care and poper conduct in dealing with succession debates and plans. We cannot allow others to believe that they can have/or own their rented mobs to parachute them into power, so that they can turn around and say you owe us favours. Mr Mbalula we know your performaces, and ambitions we shall decide whether you deserve a more senior position or not

Feb 23, 2012 12:20 | 0 replies