Mbalula must crack whip against those who defy party line



ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula is promising to crack the whip as the head of the party head office and an accounting officer.

If acted according to his words, the mediocrity that characterises the ruling party since Polokwane will come to an end.

Lawlessness began 2007

Lawlessness began with the ill-discipline that had been a new and worrying phenomenon since Polokwane in 2007, when members acted with impunity.

The cadre ship that was elected with Jacob Zuma at the time changed the course of the ANC history by making ill-discipline a new culture of the movement.

Since Polokwane, top leaders have been heckled as they spoke on public platforms. The heckling of President Cyril Ramaphosa during his opening address at Nasrec last month was over the top.

Often ordinary members would publish statements on social media to vilify leaders they do not like. Often, they hid behind the anonymity of fake names as they peddled lies.

Mbalula must act

I just hope Mbalula means business when he says ill-discipline will be punished. He promised to start with the members who voted with the opposition against the ANC’s positions in parliament and municipal councils.

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Old members could be affected

But Mbalula’s suggestion that all those who sleep on the job will be punished is worrying because innocent members could fall foul of the process, as some suffer from old-age diseases that required them to rest or take medication.

Many parliamentarians had gone over the age of 50 and obviously suffered from chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, while old age itself contributes to them getting drowsy after a long day at work.

People should not be punished for wrongdoing that is beyond their control, such as sleeping on the job.

Defiance

Instead, the whip must be cracked against those who defy party line for factional reasons.

The issue is not about sleeping on the job but acting contrary to the decision of the collective that still bases its decision-making on democratic centralism.

Those who say the ANC must not act against Cabinet ministers who defy the party underestimate the impact of applying discipline in an organisation.

One disagrees with any notion that disciplining members or removing ministers would divide the party instead of renewing it.

In fact the use of the ANC’s disciplinary code against wrongdoing will instil renewal of the party and it will help restore the confidence of the voters in the party.

There is nothing wrong in applying discipline but there is something wrong with applying it selectively, or not at all.

Those who had given up on the ANC’s ability to rehabilitate will be happy to see it doing something to restore its lost dignity. A party with ill-disciplined members and continuous infighting loses not only members, but voters.

Membership has dropped

The ANC membership dropped from over a million to about 600 000 in the past few years. It’s vote tally revolves around 10 million voters – which means the party is sustained by nonmembers.

If these figures are anything to go by, once the ANC loses power in future elections, it will never regain it, but will survive on manipulative politics of coalition government for life.

Until the ANC realises that the application of discipline action will help the party to gain more and new members from among its voters and former voters, it must forget about renewal. Members were expelled in the past, even after 1994, but the ANC did not disintegrate, instead it became stronger.


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