|22. Juni 2009
We Must Bury Factionalism - ANC
Two months after losing the Western Cape to the DA, the ANC is plotting its way back into power and drafting a political strategy to win back some of the municipalities it lost to the ruling DA in the province.
Among its plans are: dealing with internal divisions and factions; rebuilding ANC branches, especially in coloured communities; analysing the DA's policies and exposing its "open opportunity society" system as "a slogan for the protection of existing relations of power and privilege".
But at the ANC's provincial general council meeting in Kraaifontein yesterday, the party's local leadership had its hands full as it struggled to control the highly charged meeting, which brought together all branches of the ANC in the Western Cape.
Members of the ANC Youth League repeatedly disrupted the meeting, first calling for the media to be removed from the venue and then demanding that the meeting's credentials be presented before the day's programme could proceed.
The debate about whether it was important that the meeting's credentials be presented took nearly an hour to be completed.
The youth league's provincial chairman, Siyazi Tyatyam, said later that the presentation of credentials before the meeting was not merely a procedur-al issue but a fundamental one, because yesterday's meeting was a decision-making forum.
"We can't take a chance and proceed with the meeting, whereas there could be in at-tendance people that are not supposed to be here," Tyatyam said.
In his address, ANC provincial chairperson Mcebisi Skwatsha called for unity in the ANC, saying this was non-negotiable.
"There is only one pressing matter for us to discuss today, one goal for us to achieve and that is to rebuild and to plan the demise of the DA in municipal elections in 2011."
To achieve this, the ANC would need to stop meeting in divisive caucuses, stop label-ling and blaming each other, stop lobbying and jockeying for positions and favour.
"We must bury factionalism today and we can't start this difficult task without securing an agreement on this matter."
Skwatsha said the ANC needed a political strategy, saying the provincial executive committee was finalising a document on building a broad front of opposition to the DA.
"At the centre of such a political strategy must be our unflinching commitment to non-racialism and gender equality.
"Ultimately, we must agree that there has been a profound failure of non-racialism in the Western Cape."
Skwatsha said while the ANC retained its high proportion of the African vote, its share of the vote in the col-oured communities, rural and Cape Metro, had seriously eroded, while the party had attracted "precious few white supporters".
"The reasons for this sorry state of affairs are many and varied, and require substantial unpacking and analysis."
Some reasons which he listed were factional divisions; hostile perceptions of both President Jacob Zuma and the post-Polokwane leadership created, he said, by the media; and the formation of Cope.
Skwatsha warned that in developing a political strategy, the ANC needed to understand the DA and their "ideological bedfellows the ID" and should not underestimate the DA.
"We have to define what the DA and its policies are.
"Its so-called 'open opportunity society' is a slogan for the protection of existing relations of power and privilege and sought to roll back the rights of workers by supporting labour brokers and Export Processing Zones.
"We need to understand, analyse and debate that (the fact that) the DA's messages do find support in minority communities - one of which, the coloured community, is the majority in this province."