Threat to Internal Democracy in the African National Congress

Threat to Internal Democracy in the African National Congress

25 October 2012

If not reined in; the country could slowly be slipping into a dictatorship under our watch. The recent statement by the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) in which a veiled threat was made against the Deputy President of the African National Congress (ANC) and country as an attempt to intimidate him against potential leadership contestation is uncomfortably symptomatic of this.

Contesting leadership positions in the ANC is an internal and integral democratic principle which has been upheld and practiced in the hundred-year history of the organisation`s existence.

Rule five in the Constitution of the ANC details the "Rights and Duties of the Members". Subsection 5.1 (a) entitles any member the right to "Take part in elections and be elected or appointed to any committee, structure, commission or delegation of the ANC."

"The timing of the threat is worrying because it is made at a time when branches of the ANC are conducting nominations for the very elections the Deputy President is warned not to contest. The MKVA wants its will to prevail and not that of the branches. This is a political disgrace. Branches of the ANC are being intimidated by people who `sing` National Democratic Revolution but act out dictatorship. People who suffer from delusions of grandeur should come to terms with the reality that this organisation does not belong to a single group of people or to one tribal group. It belongs to all its current and future members indiscriminate of race, gender or creed. It is run in terms of its constitution and adopted policies; and not threats. To behave in the manner the MKMVA is doing is to undermine the very membership of the ANC," says comrade Makonde Mathivha, Spokesperson of ANC Limpopo.

Notwithstanding; exercising democratic rights which are entrenched both in the ANC and the Republic`s constitution in South Africa is not subject to approval by any groupings or individuals. These rights are inalienable. This worrying attack on the Deputy President is not only tyrannical in its stance but also counter revolutionary. The utterances of the MKMVA must be condemned by all democrats and revolutionaries inside and beyond the parameters of our movement. It must be condemned by the entire nation because the ANC is not about leading itself but the nation.

Internal democratic practices of the ANC, if left to the tendencies displayed by the MKMVA; could have a negative impact on the country`s democratic character as a whole.

The statement of the MKMVA is not only a threat to the Deputy President as an individual but also to the entire membership of the ANC as it seeks to rob ANC structures of their democratic option of choice – the cornerstone of any egalitarian society; the right to choose freely, without fear or favour.

Consider the entire text of Rule 12.4 of the ANC Constitution which outlines the right (of provinces) and process for nominations to National leadership positions of the ANC. Balance this against the threat of the MKMVA; if understood literally, it would mean that provinces and all structures alike are then precluded from exercising their rights to nominate leaders for National Conference. The right to be elected to National leadership even extends beyond members who may not have made it to prior nominations lists; such potential leadership candidates nominated ‘off the floor` so to speak. The logical conclusion is that the MKMVA is saying the Constitution of the ANC must be sidestepped so as their preferred candidate could be nominated and elected according to their demands.

Is the MKMVA by its threat - suggesting that the constitution of the ANC must be suspended and replaced by their instruction?

Spokesperson of the ANC Limpopo, Makonde Mathivha: "Those who aspire to lead a democratic society should themself be democrats. We should all refuse to accept this demon in its formative phase. We have witnessed people being butchered in one province on account of them being politically opposed to their killers. Tax payers` money gets wasted in hunting down perpetrators of these barbaric acts. Money and resources that could be channelled to progressive programmes to improve our society is wasted on investigations due to tyranny and political intolerance. This must be nipped in its infancy. Intolerance of differing views by the MKMVA is, hypothetically no different from those who, out of political bankruptcy, resort to threats. When threats fail to deliver political victory; assassinations are planned and even carried out".

The MKMVA would have done itself a great historical favour by apologising to ANC members and the nation. Failure to do this confirms the created impression that they treat ANC membership with disrespect and would be tantamount to naked arrogance.

Makonde concluded: "Such reckless expressions against democracy are concrete proof that recent expressions from various corners and sections of our society (including Credit Rating Agencies) are justified".

Issued By: African National Congress Limpopo

Communications and Media Office
Contact: Provincial Spokesperson, Cde. Makonde Mathivha
Mobile: 083 457 2268

Enquiries: Mandisa Mashego
Cell: 083 856 8583