Report on the State of the Organisation
18 December 1994
FROM RESISTANCE TO RECONSTRUCTION & NATION-BUILDINGCONTENTS
- Organisational challenges since 1990
- Character of ANC
- Type of movement
- Present challenges
- Capacity of ANC
STATE OF ORGANISATION
The ANC as an organisation enters this conference far stronger than at any time before in our history. Our strengths are numerous – as are our achievements over the last couple of years. We have been principally responsible for vanquishing apartheid and ushering in a new order of peace and democracy. The work that has been done in regions, in branches and in the departments of the organisation have had a cumulative effect in building our organisation and determining the direction of this country.
In doing so we have overcome many difficult challenges and problems. Though some problems continue to plague us. At the same time we are having to address a new range of challenges brought on by the changing circumstances in which we find ourselves. Only through identifying these challenges and being critical of our own response to them will we be able to ensure that we become an even stronger – and ultimately more effective – organisation.
Over the past five years the ANC has faced enormous organisational challenges – far beyond the routine tasks confronting a political movement in a relatively normal situation.
Emerging from 30 years of illegality, we were confronted with the difficult task of forging unity among several generations of cadres, schooled at different sites in our struggle, and often with different political experiences. Our present cadreship, therefore, has a diversity of experiences – exile, the army, international or administrative work, long terms in prison, the underground, and activism in broad social movements. This diversity is a great strength for our movement.
The ANC has had to assume political responsibility for the destiny of our country – carrying the burden of a government even before we were elected into that position. It was a responsibility which we carried off with a great deal of success.
During this period we also had to assume welfare and social responsibilities for thousands of returnees and other victims of apartheid. This has been an essential task, both in moral and political terms. But it has absorbed large amounts of organisational effort and resources.
We were also faced with the task of major recruiting and organisational consolidation of trying to build, more or less from scratch, a large mass-based ANC, with an effective presence in every corner of the country.
At the same time we have had to address a whole package of new strategic realities:
- the post-1989/90 global situation, which dramatically changed the conditions under which national liberation movements would have to consolidate national self-determination and development;
- the need to reorient ourselves strategically on the complex domestic terrain of a negotiated transition, while a low intensity conflict was being waged against us;
- having to prepare ourselves to fight both our own and our country`s first ever non-racial elections;
- having to prepare to govern, which included developing a relatively elaborate Reconstruction and Development Programme.
Restructuring after the 48th Conference
The 48th National Conference in 1991 noted the changed circumstances in which the ANC had to operate, and accordingly instructed the NEC to immediately examine the organisation`s structure, and to redefine the authority, responsibility, accountability and relationships between and among the ANC`s restructured departments.
Following the conference the NEC elected the National Working Committee (NWC) and allocated specific responsibilities to each NWC member in line with the structure approved by the NEC. This structure established three categories of ANC, departments – political, policy and service. This was aimed at minimising bureaucracy, sharpening lines of communication and enhancing accountability at all levels of the organisation.
Our success in attaining these objectives has been mixed. While the new structure helped to focus the work of each department on its functions the coordination of the work of departments was extremely weak.
Strength of the organisation
The strengths of the ANC are both numerous and profound. They have sustained the struggle over the last three and a half years, and lie at the heart of many of our movement`s most significant victories.
Our leadership has been tried and tested over many years of struggle. The calibre of our leadership at several levels of the organisation is without doubt the best our country has to offer. The lead taken by ANC cadres in government is evidence of the depth of skills, creativity and application that is to be found among our ranks.
Our president, Nelson Mandela – as an embodiment of all the fine qualities of ANC leadership – is a tower of strength and an inspiration to all. The leadership of our movement is noteworthy for its diversity of experience, age, gender, skills and ethnic group.
Strong presence throughout the country
We are the only organisation that has an overarching presence throughout the country. That is because the ANC – through its politics and its strategies – is rooted very firmly within the everyday experiences of ordinary South Africans. No other political party has achieved the depth of influence that the ANC has.
We are a movement of principle, and the policies we have developed over the years have consistently pursued that principle. From the Freedom Charter through to the Reconstruction and Development Programme, the ANC, has developed a workable vision of a democratic South Africa. Apart from laying the basis for the transformation of South African society, our approach to policy has also attracted many people to the ANC.
The democratic culture that endures in our movement is the envy of many organisations. Not only is this organisational culture an important manifestation of one of our guiding principles, it has also proved a source of strength. Through democratic practice we have been able to harness the collective wisdom and energy of our membership for the better of the organisation. The culture of open debate and transparency in the organisation has become a hallmark of the ANC.
We have also been very inclusive in our approach to dealing with issues, including consulting with people and groups outside of the ANC on matters of mutual importance. As a result our capacity to unite a broad range of forces has been strengthened.
Our alliance with Cosatu and the SACP – and the democratic movement as a whole – has given us enormous strength. It has brought together a wealth of talent, experience, energy and diversity behind a single purpose – the establishment of a democratic order.
Despite our immense success over the last three and a half years, our organisation has a number of serious shortcomings at many levels of the organisation.
The 48th National Conference and subsequent regional conferences elected strong and capable leaders. However the leadership did not always provide decisive leadership at crucial moments. Individually, and as a collective, the ANC`s leaders were often unable to respond promptly when the organisation was foundering. And when it was forthcoming, this `leadership` too often took the form of directives from the leadership, instead of processes which could empower and provide guidance for our structures. This was as much a result of trying and difficult circumstances as it was the fault of the national leadership.
Discipline in the organisation
The absence of a code of conduct for ANC members made it difficult to exercise maximum discipline within our structures. In addition, the leadership often failed to take appropriate action against members who breached the principles and practice of the organisation. This contributed to a general mood of ill-discipline in various areas at various times. Not only did instances of ill- discipline prove embarrassing for the organisation, but they hampered the proper functioning of our structures.
Over-concentration of responsibilities
Some of the national leaders were involved in too many functions, to the detriment of many of the important tasks facing the organisation. The effect on the organisation was particularly profound in the case of NWC members, including the Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General, who were performing tasks which allowed them only to give minimal attention to their departmental and organisational responsibilities.
Lack of an effective cadre development policy
The centralisation of responsibilities was worsened by a failure to prepare a `second layer` of leadership. The lack of an effective cadre development policy has become more pressing since the movement of many leaders into government or parliament. An organisation such as the ANC can only be strengthened if members are developed and trained through political education programmes and active engagement in the activities of the organisation.
Poor coordination by MWC and NEC
The NWC and NEC – which are supposed to operate as the engines of the organisation – failed on occasion to coordinate the various structures of the movement effectively. The effects of this lack of central coordination was felt throughout the organisation, and contributed to though was not solely responsible for – the general lack of coordination between structures at headquarters, at regional and at branch level.
National leadership removed from grassroots
The national leadership was not closely linked to our grassroots structures, but was concentrated at national headquarters. Because of the displacement caused by imprisonment, exile and underground activities most of the national leadership had been removed from the areas from which they came. The demands of the period of negotiations and the attempt to establish powerful headquarters, further removed leaders from their constituencies and based them in Johannesburg. Our shortsightedness in this regard is evidenced by the poor state of many of our regions and branches. The visits of national leaders prior to the election to several parts of the country had a positive impact on our structures, and demonstrates the importance of developing the link between national leaders and the ANC on the ground.
Work lines of communication
Communication between national structures and the regions was extremely weak and confused. That there was any communication at all was due more to the efforts of individual comrades, than due to a developed system of communication. We failed to set up effective systems of communication.
Lack of effective management
Effective management was lacking at national and regional level. There were too many departments that were not properly managed. Many tended to be too autonomous and lacked accountability. There was also a lack of sound management practices at an everyday level. This reflects, among other things, the lack of appropriate training within many of our departments.
The failure of HQ to administer a functioning membership system capable of making the organisation financially self-sufficient and giving us a correct profile of our membership, has been a serious flaw. An effective membership system is crucial to building organisation, as it can provide statistics which enable us to strategise an approach to broadening our base. It is also central to our functioning as a democratic organisation. An effective system can also help with the membership renewal process.
While we adopted sound and progressive policies on affirmative action for women, the movement failed to translate these policies into practice. Efforts to involve women sufficiently in the key structures of the movement have not been adequate. At the same time the development of women leadership has not progressed as far as it should have. This has contributed to – and at the same time, resulted from – an over-reliance on a few key women leaders.
Failure to build collective leadership
Because there was no conscious effort to build a collective approach to leadership, particularly at regional level, the workload was not properly distributed. It also contributed to a style of work which manifested itself through cliques, factions, tensions and squabbles. Where efforts were made to build collective leadership, the organisation benefitted a great deal.
Over-reliance on Head Office
An over-reliance on the national office developed within many regions – with respect to resources, organisation building and political direction. This meant that many issues were not dealt with effectively at a regional and branch level, and led to many structures feeling disempowered and at times directionless.
Poor organisation in the rural areas
Our organising efforts tended to concentrate the major urban centres. Efforts were made to develop the organisation far more in rural areas – and made significant progress in some areas – but these efforts were hampered by the lack of rural infrastructure, on the one hand, and an urban-centric method of organisation, on the other.
Involvement of minority groups
Our failure to have minorities participating in the structures of the movement in a substantial way has limited our capacity to unite a broad section of the South African population behind our programme. It has also opened up space for groups like the NP to erode our support base and promote its `readjusted` racism.
Despite its centrality to change in this country, the Tripartite Alliance did not function as effectively as it could have. A major shortcoming was the lack of co-ordination between the elements of the alliance, as well as the inability to build the alliance at local level and in many regions. Similarly, the effectiveness of the Mass Democratic Movement (MDM) was limited to specific periods – and was often reactive, rather than pro-active. The co- ordination of MDM formations and a consistent, coherent programme for transformation and reconstruction need to be pursued as a matter of priority.
The performance of the ANC of this period was not uniform, and clear phases are discernible. For example, the periods of mass action saw a substantial upswing in the strength of our organisation on the ground. Similarly, the election saw a large growth in membership and greater activity in branches. Despite their importance, these shifts were largely of temporary nature – as the lull after the election has demonstrated.
As we assess our strengths and weaknesses we need to examine our capacity to unify and consolidate our base, and relate it to the reality of the ANC in the new situation. The strength of our base should not just be a question of quantity – numbers of members, numbers of branches. It is also, critically, a question of the social composition of the ANC. We need to examine who is in the ANC? Are we dominated by younger people, at the expense of alienating older people? Is our membership mainly concentrated in urban and peri-urban areas to the detriment of the rural areas? Are our ranks dominated by African urban “insiders” or by squatter camp residents? Are organised workers active in the ANC, or is there a tendency to see COSATU alone as their organisation? What proportion of our members are women? What kind of ethnic balance do we have?
The election results provide some important insights into where the ANC has the greatest support. For example, 97 percent of the ANC`s vote came from African voters. Two percent came from coloured voters, 0.76 percent from Indian voters and 0.26 percent from white voters. Understandably, our support is most deeply rooted in the African majority. This does not preclude the ANC from broadening this support base substantially among Indian, white and coloured voters. Nor does it prevent us from consolidating our African support.
We need to examine the effect of the composition of the ANC`s support on our policies, our organisational capacity, our coherence and our unity. In this we need to examine not only the “ethnic” composition of the ANC, but our class, gender, religious and cultural composition.
As we build in the future we need to recruit and consolidate strategically, with a clear picture of the core social composition of our movement. In doing this, we must not be guided by a mechanistic representivity. While the ANC is and must be a nationally representative movement, it would be misguided to try to reproduce a mechanical and proportional reflection of class, ethnic and national realities in our country. Rather, the social composition of the ANC must be built around the ANC`s ongoing strategic transformational objectives, around a strategic perspective of the class and national forces most capable of driving reconstruction and development.
Vanguard of broad liberation movement
The ANC remains the vanguard of the broad South African liberation movement. Despite its position as the leading force in government, the central function of the ANC remains unchanged.
It needs to continue, in the new circumstances of reconstruction and nation-building, to be a broad political movement, home of the historically oppressed and democratic forces. It needs to be a national liberation movement capable of mobilising and leading the great majority of South Africans in the ongoing effort to transform, reconstruct and develop our country. Its contestation of formal political power needs to be merely an aspect – albeit a crucial aspect – of the broad function of the ANC.
Dominant party in government
The ANC is now the dominant party in government. We have, as a critical task, to ensure that the ANC enhances its capacity to govern effectively, transparently and professionally.
Although we govern within the framework of a Government of National Unity, we cannot cling to the excuse that power-sharing prevents us from governing effectively and achieving our objectives. As the overwhelmingly dominant party in government we must – and the broad public expects us to – assume real political responsibility and lead the country.
As the effective ruling party there are new tendencies and imperatives at work within the membership of our organisation. More than ever; positions within the ANC offer career paths and professional opportunities. We must not adopt a merely negative and moralistic view of these developments. We certainly need to guard against the impact on our organisation of the most narrow forms of individual careerism and self-advancement. But we must also encourage and help to develop thousands of loyal ANC cadres capable of playing an effective and professional role in government. Rather than swimming against the tide, or pretending that there are not new social tendencies at work within our organisation, we need to develop career paths and professional standards for our cadres, including those who are in the full-time employ of the ANC.
The ANC must also consolidate its electoral capacity. We are a political movement functioning within the context of a multi-party democratic dispensation. In 1995 we will be faced with local government elections, and in 1999 we will probably be confronted with constituency based elections. In many ways, 1995 and 1999 will challenge our local, on-the-ground electoral capacity much more than in April this year.
In trying to implement ANC policy from our new positions within government and the legislatures we have encountered many complexities. These include:
- the largely unreconstructed machinery of state, with all the problems of integrating several civil services, incompetence, unsuitability, and in many cases unwillingness to work effectively in the framework of a new dispensation;
- the reality that many communities in our country are, in fact, simply not served by any administrative machinery whatsoever;
- the special challenges presented by the Government of National Unity dispensation. It re quires establishing the right balance between maintaining inter-party cabinet unity and ensuring clear policy formulation and implementation on the basis of the mandate an overwhelming maJority of South Africans have given to the ANC;
- the difficulties of strategic management over the legislative process, ensuring that legislation put before parliament and the regional legislatures is appropriate to the most pressing needs of the time.
All of these institutional challenges to governance occur within a broader national and social context in which governability itself is relatively precarious. The liberation movement is often blamed for the general climate of ungovernability. Yet, the principal blame lies with decades of illegitimate and often brutal minority rule.
As a result we now have to deal with a mass constituency in which there is not always strong traditions of paying for services, and the like.
However, it is not just the historically oppressed who have developed a culture of resistance to governance. White collar crime; tax evasion by high income-earners and corporations; illegal currency exports; and attempted bribery of government officials are all rife within our society.
In trying to govern effectively we are having to deal, then, with inherited institutional and social problems. But some of the difficulties of governance we have experienced in the past few months need to be located more squarely within the ANC itself. These include:
- Iack of adequate cadres with management experience;
- tendencies, in some case, for ANC, ministers or deputy ministers to view the world from the narrow perspective of their particular ministries, at the expense of a broader ANC outlook;
- strains between ANC policy for instance the commitment to openness and transparency and the particular, perceived requirements of a specific ministry (for example, confidentiality);
- strains within the ANC between national and provincial level executives, between ANC ministers and ANC MEC`s;
- different approaches to issues between the ANC parliamentary study groups and ANC-led parliamentary standing committees, and the relevant ANC minister or deputy minister.
There needs t.o he a balance between the ANC power in government and the status and policies of constitutional structures of organisation
The ANC is now spread out across a whole set of institutions – both governmental and parliamentary. We find ourselves in these structures at both the national and provincial level, and, increasingly, also in transitional local government structures. Thousands of ANC cadres have been relocated in this process. We are, therefore, now confronted with the additional challenge of maintaining and deepening a common ANC strategic sense of purpose across this very wide spread. This challenge is, of course, the result of major popular victories. But, victory or not, it still presents organisational complexities. These include:
- real and potential disjunctures between the ANC, in different governing institutions, and between the ANC at different levels of government;
- potential disjunctures between the national level (and most of the provinces) where the ANC is t.he dominant ruling party, and the two provinces in which we are simultaneously joint rulers and the main opposition;
- the challenge of finding the correct balance between the ANC discharging its role as the ruling party of the nation, and the ANC, as the movement and mouthpiece of the historically oppressed majority – this is sometimes expressed as a “conflict” between reconciliation and constituency politics.
Reconstituted regional structures
The demarcation of provinces has meant that the ANC regions which have been functioning for the last four years have had to be restructured into provincial structures. These new structures have been given the extra task of managing governance at a provincial level – a task which has stretched our human resources, energy and skills to their limit.
Some ANC branches have not taken well to the post-election period. The lack of effective cadre development has been made glaringly obvious by the lack of programmatic activity in most branches. With the lack of any obvious grassroots priorities (as during the election) branches in many parts of the country have effectively ceased to function. Others, fortunately, seem to be operating despite the uncertainty.
Need for financial sustainability
ANC structures are having to operate in an environment where foreign funding has dwindled to a trickle. The years of illegality have bred a dependence on external funding which the ANC is finding difficult to escape from. No comprehensive plans have been developed – at national, provincial and branch level – to make the ANC financially self-sufficient.
Local government transition
The transition to democratic local government is proving to be drawn out and fraught with problems. In many regions this process has been further complicated by tensions between ANC and Sanco structures. These will only be resolved by developing a common approach to local government and a clear definition of the respective roles of our two organisations. Both the transition process and the upcoming elections require an ANC which is strong at a local level and in which there is effective coordination at a national and provincial level on the subject of local government.
Strengthening the Alliance
The alliance of the ANC, SACP and Cosatu remains a central vehicle to the transformation of society. The process of reconstruction will depend to a large degree on our ability to over come the weaknesses within the alliance, improve the co-ordination of the alliance at all levels and formulate coherent programmes for the alliance.
Given the position the ANC occupies in the country — within government and within society generally – we need to build our capacity by exploiting our strengths and addressing our weaknesses in order to meet the challenges which face us.
The NEC must reflect in its composition the rich tapestry of the South African social fabric, as its capacity to give direction to change will depend to a large degree on its ability to keep a finger on the pulse of the nation. Meetings of the NEC have to be spaced as to ensure that each meeting of the body becomes less of a ritual, and more of an opportunity to debate issues in-depth and take decisions which point the way forward for the myriad social forces which look up to the ANC for guidance and leadership. The NEC has to improve its capacity to implement decisions, and to monitor and evaluate such decisions.
As a body tasked with the day-to-day leadership of the organisation, the National Working Committee needs to provide strategic direction to all aspects of the organisation on an ongoing basis. The administrative function which it increasingly came to play, needs to be evaluated. The Management Committee, composed of the Secretary General, the Deputy Secretary General and the heads of the various divisions, has, in the few months of its existence, been responsible for the management of the organisation on a daily basis. There is a need for proper coordination and clear demarcation of responsibilities between the NEC, NWC and the Management Committee. The rationalisation of the 29 headquarters departments into the seven divisions headed by the secretaries who make up the Management Committee has already laid a sound basis for effective co-ordination.
The first phase of the restructuring of regions into provinces has now been completed. This process has not been without problems, including:
- the dominance of “more powerful” regions over “weaker” ones within the new provincial structures:
- gender imbalances;
- the absence of the leagues from the process;
- the demarcation of provincial boundaries in terms of the national interim constitution. The new provincial structures have largely been pre-occupied with their new role in government, paying little attention to the development of branch structures. Provinces – cashstrapped and short of skilled cadres – need to establish a balance between governing effectively and building branch structures (though the two are not mutually-exclusive).
The branches, as the basic organs of the ANC, are central to mobilising the masses for active participation in the implementation of the RDP. To do this branches need to focus on a number of issues:
- developing clear and practical programmes and strategic direction;
- proper political education and cadre development programmes;
- establishment of RDP councils at a local level;
- addressing resource shortages and taking initiatives to raise funds;
- develop capacity to win local government elections;
- mobilise around specific local issues;
- provide leadership in communities and foster alliances
Deployment of MPs and MPLs
MPs should continue to be seen as ANC cadres deployed in the various legislatures. Therefore, their continued link with ANC branches is both necessary and crucial. The deployment of MPs to build the organisation at grassroots level needs to be focussed on the areas of weakness within the organisation. The work of the deployed MPs should be coordinated by the necessary structures of the organisation, with regular reports being sent to the NEC, NWC and relevant PECs.
Code of Conduct for elected members
The recent adoption of a Code of Conduct for ANC representatives in government will pro vide guidelines for ensuring maximum accountability of MPs and MPLs to the constitutional structures of the organisation. It also helps to clarify the relationship between our representatives in government and our organisation – though it is not sufficient in itself to address some of the problems of co-ordination of governance.
The development of many of our cadres who were in the full-time employ of the ANC into various sites has resulted in the relocation of 600 comrades from the ANC. In spite of the enormous restructuring problems we faced, we were fortunate that we did not have to retrench any staff member on a compulsory basis. The development of staff stands out as a priority if the organisation is to meet some of the demands that are being made on it.
The respective roles of the Youth League and the Women`s League in building the ANC and advancing its programme needs to be reviewed. The strengths which these two leagues can bring to the ANC have not been effectively utilised, largely because of the lack of a coherent strategy around the leagues and a lack of resources. The strengthening of the leagues at all levels must be a major task of the organisation in the coming period.
We are confronted with the reality of having to develop an internal financial capacity. Unlike the NP which abused state resources and assets for its own operations as a political party for over forty years, our morality and political ethos preclude us from this despicable act. Therefore, it is necessary that we assume responsibility for the fortunes of our organisation. Some of the things which will have to be considered are the following:
- firming up and perhaps constitutionalising the collection of levies from MPs, Premiers and cabinet ministers;
- extending this practice to all employed ANC, members;
- improving our membership system and mailing annual subscriptions an enforced condition for ANC membership, and developing the capacity of our branches to follow-up on subscriptions;
- making fundraising part of our lives, from t.he branch right Up to the NEC;
- establishing and running income-generating projects;
- the idea of ln ANC Club needs to be revisited and widely canvassed among ANC members.
At the same time we need to introduce in the whole movement proper management of our financial and other assets. Stricter control mechanisms need to be put in place in pursuit thereof. More importantly we need to eradicate mismanagement and gross negligence in the handling of our meagre resources.
The principal mechanism to improving our performance in government is the qualitative strengthening of our organisation at all levels – for it is only through a strong and active ANC that we c an hope t.o have an effective and accountable government. Because of our newness to government and the importance of our effective performance to the transformation of South African society, it is necessary to pay some attention to our approach to governance.
When considering the ANC`s new role in government certain principles should be noted:
- although we are governing in the context of a GNU dispensation, and although we have inherited many complex often obstructive legacies, we have received a huge majority mandate to govern as the ANC;
- we are one ANC, located across several institutional and social sites;
- all ANC members, regardless of where they are located, are subject to ANC discipline and ANC policy;
- the highest policy-making structures of our organisation remain Conference and the National Executive Committee;
- the authority of the ANCÕs constitutional structures needs to be understood in the context of the lay-to-day demands of governing. This should never excuse failing to implement ANC policy where applicable.
Coordination of governance
As noted the approach of the ANC to government lacks coordination and strategic planning. The relationship between ANC constitutional structures (NEC, NWC, PECs and BECs and ANC representatives in government (caucuses, ministers, deputy ministers, etc.) needs to be more clearly defined, so l hat the policies of the organisation can effectively guide the formulation of government policy.
The Legislatures and the Government Co-ordination divisions of the ANC are central to this function. They provide the daily co- ordinating point for all ANC representatives in government, parliament and in the legislatures. They need to he developed and their functions clearly defined.
At the same time the ANC, should explore bringing the different aspects of the organisation and sectors of the MDM together in co- ordinating forums around specific areas of governance. The local government Co-ordinating Forum is an example of such. The forums would comprise relevant ANC representatives in government at. national and provincial level) and appropriate representatives from ANC constitutional structures and departments. The function of these forums should be to coordinate the ANC`s role in government, and between government and the broader ANC-led movement; and to monitor the passage of legislation and the implementation of government programmes. For these forums to function effectively there needs to be adequate and consistent representation from ANC people in government in particular.
The composition, structure and function of the NWC and NEC respectively should be reviewed in the light of their importance to giving direction to our role in government.
The national and provincial caucuses have to more strategic use of our majorities to secure the legislation necessary for the implementation of the RDP and the transformation of government. To this end caucus agendas need t.o be more focussed on steering the legislative process in a strategic manner:
There are shortcomings in our approach to the implementation of the RDP through government. A tendency has developed within government and in society broadly to restrict responsibility for implementing the rdp to the Office of the Minister with Portfolio. As a consequence it is proving difficult to integrate the RDP into functions of government departments at all levels. The failure of the ANC to sustain a coherent strategic approach to the RDP in all its structures must be one of our greatest shortcomings in the post-election period.
Tripartite Alliance and MDM
Our alliance partners, both within the Tripartite Alliance and within the broader mass democratic movement, have also had to confront many of these new realities. Like us, they too have had to redefine their roles and map out their strategic objectives. Naturally, all of this reorientation, on their various part.s and from our side, has thrown up new challenges and at times new strains in our relations.
The ANC`s leadership role needs, of course, to be constantly won in practice, and not merely asserted. The unifying strategic programme for the Tripartite and for the broader MDM alliance needs to be the RDP.
In this regard, the RDP Council initiative involving the ANC and Tripartite Alliance, SANCO, NECC, and a whole range of other membership based sectoral organisations including religious formations) needs to be consolidated and replicated at provincial and regional levels.
The ANC`s role in the past with regard to MDM formation.s has been problematic. The occasions when the organisation has engaged with MDM formations have largely be-n limited to interventions at times of crisis. There has not. been a commitment from the ANC to engage in sectoral struggles through MDM allies, nor to strengthen these structures through the deployment of cadres and resources.
Patriotic Front and other alliances
While the Patriotic Front that was in operation during negotiations and in the election represented an important broadening of the groupings and tendencies within the democratic movement fold, the ANC has not made sufficient efforts to draw in structures who outside the ANC-led movement have the potential to be reactionary forces. The capacity of the ANC to diminish opposition to our programmes relies on our ability to draw in such formations. This, however, should not be done at the expense of our principles, policies or programmes.
In short, the ANC must be capable of uniting its governmental, parliamentary and extra-governmental forces to jointly drive forward reconstruction and nation building.
To be effective in all these spheres we need to devote energy and resources to building cadreship, partly through systematic induction and political education. But cadreship is not developed merely through education. As an organisation we must also develop and lead clear RDP-oriented campaigns. The ANC must assume central responsibility for galvanising and mobilising mass participation in transformation programmes and struggles.
A vast amount of organisational rebuilding faces us. This needs to be the responsibility of both full-time cadres and of all ANC members, be they ministers, or MPs, or rank-and-file members. This organisational consolidation must be based, as we have argued above, on a clear strategic understanding of where we are coming from, and where we need to go.
We are indeed a powerful organisation. But it is necessary to critically raise our weaknesses, not to demoralise our structures, but to put in place mechanisms to strengthen our capacity to effect fundamental transformation of society.
The move from resistance to reconstruction and nation-building requires real renewal and innovation. But it also requires building on the national liberation traditions of the African National Congress and on the broad mass constituency we have always represented.