Ramaphosa tells ANC Integrity Commission it’s time for a new approach to leadership contests

ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa told the party’s Integrity Commission (IC) that the organization must accept that campaigning for internal party leadership positions “is part of the modern way in which political parties operate.”

This is according to a leaked report of the party’s Integrity Commission (IC) which met Ramaphosa on 19 November, 2020 and dated 21 December 2020.

The document, signed by IC Chair George Mshamba, stated that whilst the President expressed the wish to deal with hisCR17 Campaign, the Commission made it clear that in this meeting the IC did not want to discuss the CR17 campaign. but instead wanted to focus on the principle of the use of money in individual leadership campaigns within the organisation going forward.

Clear guideline needed

Mashamba said Ramaphosa told the committee that while internal campaigns was a regular occurence of modern political parties, it must regulated.

Ramaphosa explained, according to the leaked documents, that despite several ANC conference resolutions discouraging the practice, the use of money has continued to influence the party’s leadership contests.

“One measure to put an end to factionalism would be to have a new approach to leadership contestation. Without clear guidelines, the leadership contests will continue in the shadows, encouraging factionalism.”

“The ANC needs to clearly identify permissible forms of campaigning and those that are not. The intention is to ensure legitimacy, transparency and accountability,” Ramaphosa added, according to the document.

Lessons to be learned from ANC’s 2017 conference

According to Mashamba, Ramaphosa suggested that the ANC formulate guidelines to address issues around the use of state resources for party campaigning; setting limits on fundraising; and should the practice be prohibited or managed differently.

“In relation to fundraising for conference, the President said he subscribes to the view put forward by the ANC Veterans League that there should be a limit from each donor to ensure no donor has the upper hand,” Mashamba said.

The ANC Integrity Commission head added that Ramaphosa pointed to lessons that had to be learned from the ANC’s 2017 conference:

  • The absence of guidelines will lead to the campaigning taking place in the shadows, leading to patronage.
  • Campaigns should be used to build and unite the ANC and should not be underpinned by factionalism, etc.
  • After the conference, all campaign machineries should be dismantled.
  • Financial accounting of all campaigns and each candidate should account to the IC, and also in terms of tax and other applicable laws.
  • There should be a very clear commitment on the matter of buying of votes.
  • Proper practices from previous conferences, stemming from the resolutions adopted, should be developed into clear rules.

However, the Commission maintained that it should be “strictly prohibited to raise and use money for individual leadership campaigns” at all levels of the organization.

“Whilst understanding full well that we now have to operate as a modern political party canvassing for support for national, provincial and local elections, it does not follow that our internal political leadership be chosen on the basis of who is able to raise the most money for their individual campaign.”

Ramaphosa said it “would be very good to hear from the IC” about how this issue of eradicating the use of money in leadership campaigns can be achieved.

The ANC’s National General Council (NGC), scheduled for mid-2021, is expected to discuss the matter further.

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