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NC ANC openly backs proposal of one million party members to vote directly for President

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Proposal pits party's biggest provinces against each other

ANC provincial chairperson, Zamani Saul. File picture

THE PUSH for all ANC members to elect their President and top five leaders has pitted the party’s biggest provinces against each other.

The ANC in KwaZulu Natal and Eastern Cape, the party’s biggest province and second biggest respectively, differ on the the suggestion.

The move will see about 1 million members voting for leaders, including national executive committee (NEC), instead of branch delegates nominated  to a conference.

The governing party is grappling with its leadership election methods, which have been plagued by vote-buying and manipulation, allowing space for “capture” of the organisation by business interests.

Today, as the ANC NEC meeting in Pretoria, the the party’s Northern Cape structure openly backed a proposal for one million party members to vote directly for its President and other top leaders.

The decision by the ANC in the Northern Cape came after the party in the Eastern Cape supported the proposal.

The proposal was adopted at the recent policy conference where ANC structures were asked to discuss it and come up with their positions.

However, KwaZulu-Natal has firmly rejected the proposal with Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Gauteng among those not yet decided.

ANC Northern Cape provincial chairperson Zamani Saul said they were the first ones to support the proposal.

“Our resolution was that the NEC (National Executive Committee) must investigate the possibility for all members of the ANC to vote for the leadership,” he said.

Saul said the NEC was then going to look at the modalities of this.

“The first thing is to improve the integrity of the membership. If the integrity of the membership is not questioned that is the start to look at ways membership can vote,” he said.

He said the Labour Party in Britain was already allowing its members to vote directly for its leadership.

But the ANC in KZN said it did not support the proposal, with party provincial spokesman Mdumiseni Ntuli saying it would not fly.

“This is not a decision of the policy conference. It’s one of the permutations that the policy conference said we must consider,” he said.

“As a province we don’t support it. Our view is that the existing mechanism is sufficient. What we need to do is to strengthen the quality of the branches so that they produce delegates of high quality at the conference,” he said.

ANC provincial secretary in Limpopo Knox Seabi said they have not yet started discussing the matter.

“Discussions are still going on until the national conference in December,” said Seabi.

ANC provincial secretary in Mpumalanga Mandla Ndlovu said they have also not yet started discussing the proposal.

He said ANC structures in the province will discuss it.

ANC spokesman in Gauteng Nkenke Kekana said this was a brilliant idea, but it will be difficult to implement.

“Brilliant idea, difficult to implement. You need to modernise the party. We are in discussion to modernise the party,” he said.

The ANC has one million members and the proposal was to allow all the members to vote in the elective conference.

This would then scrap the current system where delegates from branches vote for the ANC President, the rest of the top six and the NEC.

At the policy conference the ANC said one of the ways that can be used to vote for leaders was technology, which could be the best tool to be used for members to vote.