The African National Congress (ANC) has admitted to failing to implement some of its resolutions, including rolling out lifestyle audits of its leaders, and has suggested that "integrity checks" be done on all those wanting to attain party leadership positions.
This is according to an ANC discussion document for its mid-term conference, the national general council (NGC), planned for next year. The document was released on Friday.
Lifestyle audits have long been discussed in the ANC and the matter was ventilated at its last conference in 2017.
Yet, the party faces a litany of corruption allegations in its leadership structures, with corruption-accused leaders refusing to step aside despite a resolution in that regard.
"Going forward, this should include pre-conference 'integrity checks' for all those availing themselves for leadership positions. Through a mechanism that enjoys universal confidence, conduct lifestyle audits and integrity checks starting with national and agree with its aims and objectives (sic)," the discussion documents states.
In 2016, then-secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said lifestyle audits would go a long way to combatting corruption.
The proposal by the ANC policy committee bears similarities to the resolutions taken at the last ANC NGC in 2015.
In his closing address at that NGC, former president Jacob Zuma said government should conduct lifestyle audits of all employees of government and its related entities. He said vetting processes should be expedited with a single vetting agency to vet all strategically placed civil servants and those who reject promotions even though it comes with an improved remuneration package.
The ANC has, according to its own account, failed to implement this resolution.
Speaking at a media briefing, ANC policy head Jeff Radebe said there was a slow pace of implementation. He said that was the reason government established the planning, monitoring and evaluation department to deal with implementation.
He said: "I think that process is still maturing within government. The other weakness is here at Luthuli House where, because of lack of resources, we have not yet developed a capacity from the ANC perspective to monitor the implementation of our resolutions, especially those that are in government."
He said it was evident that Luthuli House needed more capacity.
Recently, President Cyril Ramaphosa has also been called out for moving at a snail's pace to produce guidelines on lifestyle audits for his Cabinet ministers. He recently said guidelines would be finalised by March 2021, three years after he promised to perform lifestyle audits on his executive.
ANC deputy secretary-general Jesse Duarte told journalists the next national executive committee meeting will debate when it would hold its mid-term conference. The ANC is not ruling out a hybrid or virtual conference, she said.
In the document, the party said as part of its plan to implement a new digital membership system, the ANC plans to initiate a campaign to get every ANC member to reapply for membership.
This will include a vetting mechanism for all members, a police clearance certificate and an acceptance that any false declarations on any criteria would lead to the rejection or termination of membership.
The party said it will strengthen the role of the integrity commission in line with the resolutions of the 2017 conference and ensure its recommendations are respected.
While Radebe praised the ANC for implementing some of its resolutions and making strides in education, health and social services, he said economic transformation was one of the areas that needed attention.
"Personally, I have not yet experienced deployees in government who are refusing or reluctant to implement ANC resolutions. It's just the issue of bureaucracy in government and the long timelines to implement decisions."
The ANC has also identified that the capacity and legitimacy of the state has been weakened by deeply entrenched corrupt practices by employees, public representatives and the private sector, as well as the arrogance of some in leadership positions.
The document reads: "The Covid-19 pandemic tested the capacity of the state and the efficiency of government. It also profiled opportunities to grow our capacity to realise developmental endeavours and expose weaknesses. Although progress made to extend basic services and reduce poverty, distribution of income, ownership, management and assets still reflects apartheid, colonialism and patriarchy."
The document also suggests that the Covid-19 economic recovery plan can provide an opportunity for a sustainable economic future and help to overcome the fault lines of poverty, inequality and unemployment.
The party has also touched on strengthening its embattled youth league. It noted a need to create an ANC more appealing to young people and the issues they face.
The document adds that there is also a need to tackle the concept of the ANC's post-apartheid identity, given the current political landscape.
"The task after reimagining the ANC is to take that fresh look at the ANC and how it relates to society at large. The ANCYL has to be in touch with young people and their struggles – be it around education, employment, access to services, childcare, support for substance abuse and survivors of GBV, access to grants, loans and opportunities. It is this ANC that can and will recapture the imagination of the youth."