I went home last week, Seoding village, near Pampierstad in the North West province and little did one know the following day, Sunday that is, will be ANC Ward 21 meeting in the village.
At first one had thought it would be the village meeting and everyone was invited, despite having read notice on an ANC logo. But still, I decided to attend the meeting any way and thought if one is to be thrown out for one is not a member, one would very much leave in peace without making a scene.
More than anything, as I told members of the community during the meeting at the time, this is was one the great initiatives one had ever seen. Now that one has got that off the chest, one can now breathe.
The meeting was, actually supposed to be, for ANC members in the village. But because the ANC is, and as it always claims, a representative of all people in this country. And as a non- political-party member myself, I was fortunately welcomed and therefore not expelled.
The meeting was held by three men – one of whom was my teacher years back during his teaching practical while the other was an unemployed youth in the village and with whom I went to school. The other convenor was from Sekhing village. The youth, it would appear, joined political for is unemployed – not that joining politics would give him any job, but still in politics one just never knows – and that he probably had nothing to do with his valuable time, hence politics.
The purpose of the meeting amongst other this was:
- To build the ANC membership in the ward/community,
- Renew membership,
- To address any problems the membership of the party and the community in general may have.
It was very noble that the ANC, or whoever initiated this idea, thought of the community.
The convenors we known as Branch Task Tea (BTT) which can as a result of the disbandment of the province's Provincial Executive Committee a few months ago and later the establishment of the Provincial Task Team.
It later became clear that "having received the reports from the Rapid Response Team and the NEC depolyees the NWC held Regional General Council in all the regions of the North West...[and] taking into account all the views expressed in the reports and in the RGCs" according to ANC general Secretary Gwede Mantashe that the Provincial Executive Committee in the North West Province was dissolved.
In his statement, Mantashe said the committee was dissolved for, among others, the following reasons:
- The province is deeply divided and factions are almost institutionalised in that they are known and openly talked about.
- It is acknowledged that these factions have been entrenched in the workings of the province for more than a decade.
- In the same period of ten years, at least, strange tendencies and ill-discipline have developed, to a point where individuals are more loyal to their faction than the organisation.
- Business interests, control of resources and patronage are at the centre of the divisions in the province.
- Factionalism is negatively impacting on governance at both local and provincial levels.
- Deployment to government and state departments at both provincial and local levels is perceived to be or in reality determined on the basis of group loyalties.
- The advent of COPE has exacerbated the situation in the province in that comrades accuse those who disagree with them of being COPE. Those who claim to be legitimate defenders of the ANC use such allegations as a means to justify their ill discipline.
- The public posture of alliance partners tends to weaken the ANC rather than strengthening it. Their public pronouncements on the ANC structures and problems are not helpful, irrespective of whatever angle one looks at them.
- Overall the alliance in the province is dysfunctional.
- The current status quo poses a serious threat to the ANC in the coming local government elections.
- The views of delegates in all the PGCs reflected the serious divisions in the province.
The NEC, taking its responsibility of ensuring organisational renewal in the province, resolved that:
- The PEC should be disbanded with immediate effect.
- The NWC is given the responsibility of putting together a provincial task team within the next fourteen days.
- A maximum of three comrades from outside of the province be deployed to the task team to ensure objectivity in the work of the PTT.
- The PTT should be given a clear directive to rebuild and strengthen structures of the ANC at all levels of the organisation.
- A provincial conference should be convened within the next nine months.
- Regular progress reports should be submitted to the NEC.
It was from the PTT that the BTT (Branch Task Team) was formed and later BTT which was mostly placed at the lowest level of the ANC structures, community levels especially in the rural communities.