ANC veteran and former Cabinet minister Pallo Jordan has warned the governing party's renewal will be a painful process requiring its disciplinary structures and integrity commission to be given more teeth.
The former arts and culture minister has stated that the ANC has at its disposal a host of instruments that it could use to enforce discipline and hold accountable its deployees and members whose conduct subverts the aims of the party in government.
According to Jordan, the ANC constitution, with its oath of membership, is in place to ensure that it is not brought into disrepute, yet the party has failed to enforce all these provisions.
"What began as a perception that the ANC is ‘soft’ on corruption because so many of its members are involved, today is regarded as a fact,” he explained.
Jordan said the ANC’s renewal will be an extremely painful process but one that must be undertaken if the party hopes to maintain and build on its limited achievements as the government.
"It will have to entail a re-assertion of the core values of the ANC, and above all, the ethic of serving the people. Cleansing the movement of those who have adhered to it for purposes of self-enrichment will be a necessary dimension of renewal. That requires that the ANC disciplinary structures and integrity committee be given teeth so that they can handle the cases of ill-discipline and enforce their decisions,” he added.
The 80-year-old, who has also held the environmental affairs and tourism as well as the telecommunications and broadcasting portfolio posts in Cabinet, was forced to resign as ANC MP and from the national executive committee on August 2014 after it emerged that he had falsified his qualifications, including his doctorate.
Jordan said among ANC members, supporters and veterans of the struggle, there is a profound appreciation that many of the maladies afflicting the country’s economy are attributable to poor performance by those the ANC has deployed in the government.
There was also agreement that the ANC needs to be renewed to raise the nation’s morale, according to Jordan. On the performance of the ANC in government, Jordan indicated that the governing party has not been immune to internal power struggles and the abuses of power that is always linked to them.
"When factors other than merit and competence determine the deployment of management at key state-owned enterprises, society as a whole is held to ransom. As the party of government, the ANC will be held accountable for the failures of such enterprises to deliver the services the public are entitled to,” he maintained.
In addition, Jordan said many of the tendencies and vices that the ANC was specifically founded to uproot – tribalism, regionalism, ethnic chauvinism – have begun to surface within and are finding resonance amongst its ranks as the self-serving and careerists attempt to harness such backward sentiments in pursuance of personal and other non-ANC agendas.
"Mobilisation around factional agendas within the ranks of the ANC and amongst its supporters has consistently been linked to competition for resources and the drive by specific individuals to accumulate wealth through access to the state,” he said.
Jordan continued: “The ‘vices of incumbency’ – i.e. the malpractices into which politicians are tempted while in political offices – is a term now in common use amongst us in the ANC. It is axiomatic in public debate and within the movement that the ANC has been transformed from a movement and party of struggle to one through which the ambitious may rise to positions of authority and power in society”.