The challenge of the transformation and development of our society cannot be understated or taken for granted given the many people who sacrificed their lives and fought hard struggles to bring about the freedom and democracy we continue to enjoy in this country.
Exactly one month has passed since millions of people went to vote in peaceful elections that were not only free and fair but also guaranteed the permanence of the foundations from which we advance the historic mission to build a united and democratic South Africa that is non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous.
For this historic mission to be realised the African National Congress (ANC) is required to continuously improve public accountability and responsiveness to the needs and concerns of the people. As a broad movement of the people, the ANC, in its 2019 Elections Manifesto re-committed itself to work closely with all our people in a partnership for renewal and radical socioeconomic transformation.
In this regard, all of us share a common concern that: (i) the economic growth rates are far too low; (ii) the levels of unemployment are too high; and, (iii) level of inequality is also too high. Notwithstanding this, the political challenges (both internal and external) faced by the organisation stemming from its role as a governing party with a strong liberation movement heritage and grappling with sins of incumbency. All these have the potential of a deterioration of the political climate thus plunging it into a crisis.
Added to this is the danger that such an instance would lead to widespread instability which would be accompanied by the unfortunate reality of the very idea of the ANC coming to an end. The obvious reality is that if these things are not addressed the general crisis I have mentioned will get even deeper and more intractable. This is an eventuality that must avoid at all costs
The tasks which lie ahead for the 6th democratic administration are not only to implement the necessary goals set out in our election manifesto and conference resolutions which guide the executive’s programme in addressing these areas of concern but to also embolden the role of the ‘’political centre’’ which holds it altogether.
To practically realise this, there is an urgent need to:
1. Maintain vibrant internal democracy (freedom of discussion) in the ANC and supporting the principle and practice of collective leadership.
2. Increasing the capacity to plan, coordinate and monitor and evaluate the implementation of policies, and their impact on the people and society.
3. Develop Cadres schooled in the values and policies of the ANC with the capacity to be agents of change wherever they are deployed.
4. An uncompromising fight against negative and unacceptable practices which bring the name of the organisation into disrepute.
The above-mentioned are a few yet critical strategic interventions needed to pull the party out of the undesirable political situation which may throw it off from its noble course.
Fortunately, the situation has not yet arrived at the tipping point that comes with disastrous consequences.
Alas, the centre needs to hold!
Phiwe Mathe is a member of the African National Congress and writes in his personal capacity.