South Africa got freedom under difficult times and the African National Congress through its different structures played a leading role in ensuring freedom is attained. One thing that stand out during those times is the separation of roles and powers in handling matters. There was clear roles politics, business, education, churches, traditional leaders and healers, youth, lawyers, farmers and various structures played to achieve one common goal of freedom. There was no conflict of interest in decision making and handling of matters.
24 years later, everyone seeks to play in every possible role. Within the structures of ANC, there are people who lead several roles and therefore conflicted. There has been lot of challenges and self-serving interest deviating from the collective of the organisation. The consistent splits and low turn during election has impacted on the Brand ANC. Whilst politics has it way of influence, majority of people have seen politics as an opportunity to amass riches
Over the past 10 years, ANC has seen many of its youthful leaders being caught in the wrong side of the law and tarnishing their names in a way that loses confidence and trust for those who wish to be part of the organisation. The redundant of the ANC youth League, ANC Women League and constant infighting within the veterans and attack of the leadership by those that have held leadership positions had not done good to the organisation
Branches are weaker and people fight for powers without considering what it means to be an ANC cadre has led to loss of faith from youth. The priorities of leadership in branches, SASCO, COSAS, ANCYL has deferred the impact to the main organisation. Everyone is focused on what is in for them and there is no measurable impact of those structures to the leadership. The organisation Moral Regeneration is being communicated at a level of media briefing and public address not within principle level of leadership
Whilst there is lack of intelligence in many opposition parties, they continue to benefit from self-destruction tendencies of ANC leadership at various levels. The intellect capacity within the ANC is being lost to opposition and no political affiliation and there are no efforts to bring them into the organisation. ANC is a leading organisation which has resources to tackle disruptions through innovation and technology but it is too comfortable that it gets surprised with rising of opposition and lack of interest from young people.
ANC cannot be proud to have just over 1 million membership out of 53 million people in the country and each election year there are over 15 million that vote for the ANC. The lack of interest and strategy to convert those numbers to tangible support base is clear sign of ignorance or lack of skills thereof. The ANC has plans which include the critical tasks of renewal and unity; reconnecting the ANC with the people, strengthening our branches and structures, and restoring the values and integrity of our movement but there is a clear gap between the organisation and the ground. Branches cannot be strengthened by internal lobbying but recruiting candidates with ethics and integrity.
I personally lead over 3000 graduates in our Graduates Academy NGO/NPO and we host entrepreneur and graduate’s empowerment conferences each year and not even one single provincial, regional and local leaders have taken advantage of such opportunity to recreate relationship with ANC. Just before we lost Tshwane, we had a conference attended by over 300 graduates and entrepreneurs but there were no efforts to engage us. I stay in Ekurhuleni and have offices in Tshwane and do work with either municipality but no one has ever engaged on possible membership. In Venda, each year we host various games for communities and I do not even know who the councillor is.
Young people when moved from branches they create a wall where one can never access them. When there are funerals and conferences, it is very difficult to access our own heroes and idols because they no longer wish to access people. It is only during elections that we see people visiting our areas. In Limpopo, it is very scarce that you will find any prominent leader visiting Dzimauli, Niani, Thengwe because they are not urban but that is where loyalty is and if that is not guarded, they will lose faith. If leaders do not visit communities just to remind them ANC lives and they care but remember to visit during election it demonstrate lack of empathy and authenticity.
What does ANC stand for?
We are now approaching 2019 elections and what we hear is what ANC promises to do for the people and why it is still the vehicle to the destined promises? Is that the approach? I doubt people want to hear what ANC can do or is going to do but What ANC stands for. Younger generation do not care of the historical achievements of the ANC and it is high time the young interests and trends amongst their behavioural patterns are incorporated within the Brand ANC. It is not going to help to be talking struggle and freedom to young person who believes is free to align to future relevance hence the context in which you selling organisation cannot be narrowed to correcting past that many do not know about.
Strategy and Messaging
What is the election strategy?
ANC has in many years used typical common strategy where from January 8 statement, everyone else worry about access to merchandise and there are workshops organised for recruitment. How do we know people will vote for the ANC and why it matters to vote anyway? We must do away with reactive approach and create stable mobilisation strategy. No matter how many authentic and ethical leaders we can claim to have had, alone they cannot cut it. ANC must put people at the centre of campaigns to initiate campaigns, recruit others and become champions of renewal. The attitude of celebrities and branded vehicles with loud speakers is a sign of loss of control and relationship with people. In communities there is one sign of invitation to centre and people are aware but what is the common Campaign Strategy for the ANC?
The day ANC empower people to lead the campaigns, ANC will triumph because the strategy will be collective victory than people feeling they are resources for election. People must feel part of freedom, people must feel part of ANC, people must own ANC Election Manifesto, ANC must stop teaching people but form part of people. A lone champion attitude will destroy faith and trust.
Are there opportunities in the ANC? Are there opportunities in ANC led government? Why it matters to be a member of ANC? I do not know. How many people do not know? How many people will be attending January 8 because they want to be in KZN? If media could get any ordinary person to ask why ANC? Will we have common answer with leadership? If this do not make sense then we are having lost the idea of people owned organisation where ordinary people can do extraordinary to make positive change in the ANC. ANC must be people powered and that is through messaging that resonate with locals. No one message fits all but ideal message is aligned and positioned to locality and is mindful of the type of people.
To change the culture, behaviours, values and systems of the current ANC, we need to inspire communities to take control of leadership and define what it means to be part of ANC. Today we are isolated because ANC functions as a seasonal business entity. People with guidance, support and resources can become leaders of change and if ANC wants to make sense, it must change the people through messaging.
The story of ANC is great, the behaviour of ANC today is inconsistent and therefore there is a need to restructure message. ANC must have s Strategy Statement that demonstrates why it exist and what is the value add to the country to ensure it attracts people from various age groups and careers. ANC must use technology to communicate with youth and must have specific message for graduates, business and community.
Competency and Ethics
There are many ways to build people power. Does the ANC have the competency throughout if funnel of structures? What defines leadership in creating people power is the ability to organise, engage and mobilise and no one should mobilise from different content and context hence competency and ethics to communicate what ANC is communicating with diligence and purposefully. Many mobilise for ANC in line with opportunities that might arise in jobs, tenders, business and positions which creates expectations than people centred powers and mission.
People have ability to pressure any organisation to change its manifesto to meet their demands. How? When they are operating as a collective outside the organisation. ANC has allowed itself to be an entity that people can view and review from a distance than within. Even ANC members either intentionally or unaware criticise ANC which questions competency of cadres.
“The best way to predict your future is to create it.”—Abraham Lincoln
Disruption cannot happen without innovation. Innovation cannot happen without experimentation. Experimentation cannot happen without the possibility of failure. Yet failure is one of the most terrifying human fears that often leads to innovation paralysis or disruption denial.
For most part of years, ANC has been in denial that it is becoming irrelevant. If we talking of 17 million of people who are not working, it is a ticking time bomb and that is not because jobs cannot be created but there is no interest in the ANC in creating government that works. Government officials are doing private jobs and that is where they lose focus and never perform. Fundraising for ANC has gone down because officials do not declare their service projects and only few companies are doing work. The ANC does not clearly declare that government officials should not be doing work with government and KPIs and KPAs of officials should be monitored and evaluated against the objectives.
Government Departments that are strategic such as Department of Environmental Affairs, Department of Water and Sanitation, Department of Agriculture, Department of Social Development whose programmes should incorporate human development and community development have not been impact based rather launch ineffective programmes with no aftercare. Programmes that can yield support for graduate’s employment are implemented by comrades and they are not concluded effectively. Biodiversity and Waste Management Economy can lead to absorption of graduates and unskilled community members and that is if programmes from these department are aligned to Local economic development, local tourism, local agricultural strategy and integrated waste management and environmental plans. It is key that the leadership pushes alignment of these departments with EPWP programmes to have tangible results.
ANC should be taking the inclusive storyline and invite people not only to vote but to be the renewed organisation to attract young leadership. The ANC should have a school of thought that dismiss the gaps between stalwarts, elders, middle class and youth. Youth of today lack a story to tell about the ANC. They are operating in isolation and that destroys efforts for legacy. Whilst the stalwarts believe ANC is theirs, young people feel ANC cannot hold onto history without creating a story line that talks to current challenges.
· The story of Fees must fall
It was the ANC that promised the fees must fall and delivered but it came at the expense of criminal activities and violence. Why would ANC not advocate for release of such students and pardoning the prisoners for fees must fall? It shows lack of empathy and the fees must fall cannot be celebrated without scars
ANC has always been vocal against patriarchy but why is it that there is no clear condemnation but blanket statements? It is key ANC comes out in active voice to condemn issues that impact on country vision and self-leadership
Corruption is now a culture in the country but the tone is so passive. If 5 million can be taken from someone’s office and by second day we have not seen ANC condemning allegations and being decisive in cadres that mobilise to loot in the name of organisation. Department and municipalities have stalled the progress in job creation because of lack of services. If municipalities have no programmes, the government cannot create jobs
· Department of Mineral Resources and Department of Water and Sanitation
These departments play a big role in attracting investments in the country. There is so much corruption and delays in issuing of licences and this frustrates the investors. If the country can have Water shedding, we are heading for disaster. ANC should be advocating for administration in those departments and dedicated team for licencing especially with Water Use Licences and Mining Slime dams and waste disposal facility approvals. Should the problem persist the ANC will be considered being ignorant and failing to create enabling environment for investment. Water and Sanitation needs urgent addressing of licencing.
· Graduates opportunities
Many programmes that are being launched at high level are ignorant of the rural communities that after 24 years cannot access technology and internet. Responses from agencies that need to help poor communities has been very slow and that includes interaction with institution of learning. Whilst ANC can only play political role, it is the leaders within structures that must be mandated to lead change in the communities. We have students who passed matric but had not applied and councillors are helpless. Some rural schools are lacking resources and the political heads do not seem interested in addressing issues. This will go a long way in demonising the approach to rural challenges for ordinary
The call for Unity is not enough. We need to see people negotiating path to unity. What ANC is supposed to be united about?
· Human Development
· Quality Membership
· Align its membership with burial or insurances to attract more people
· Have breakfasts and dinners to engage on issues
· Stop corruption
· Stop killings
· Empower and capacitate young leaders
· Reform or leagues
· Strategy and Implementation
· The story of youth
Today young generation is not interested in struggle, they are not interested in policies, they are not interested in status quo. The real challenge is employment, education, self-mastery, technology, quality life, entrepreneurship, cooperatives, Not for profit business, business support and access to infrastructure and funding. The ANC is falling short in its mandate in line with its policies for economic development, education and enabling environment. Whilst the Manifesto may speak around such issues at high level but ANC must get back to the attitude of ground truthing.
Today youth requires idols. We grew during times of Mbalulas, Gigaba, Malema, Mabe, Shivambu, Lamola, Magaqa and each province was able to battle with ideas and schools and university leaders including colleges had ambitious leaders who were to create a brand for themselves than being involved in tenders and stay in school forever. The attitude of looking has destroyed ideological battles and ANC resorted on lectures where our heroes are protected by bodyguards instead of being owned by people. A clear reform is needed and leg by reputable leaders whose image are not tarnished.
Timing and Agility
The poor structure of ANC at its current state does not provide for agility and structural leadership. For a servant type of leader like Ramaphosa, leading an organisation with no hierarchy is quite dangerous. There is need to have accountability vested to branch leaders, provincial and regional leaders including branches. The ANC has failed to deal with many matters and kept on referring members to dysfunctional branches. This is because there is too much gap between leaders and constituency. ANC is about people and the people must access leaders and leaders mucg respond with speed.
The image of the ANC is tainted simply because of lack of decision making. ANC cannot talk decisive action when there are several actions that are hanging around cadres whose ethics and behaviours are left unchallenged and not condemned. Parliament will remain a playing field if those mandated with leading has no intellectual capacity and their back is against the wall. There is no cadre that is prepared to be custodian or change and bring along clean members to add value in the organisation.
Economic transformation, economic inclusion, human development, quality education, land reform, Job creation will not happen under hostile leadership where shuffling and reshuffling of old cadres remain a sign of unwillingness to change and advance youth development. This cannot happen without leagues and strategic vision to refocus on youth that undertand ANC that can succeed elders. Today ANC is not see as willing to accept young leaders.
Communication and finances
ANC communication strategy is not proactive. There is no clear communication plan for the election. It is important that there is a communication strategy that has considered current SWOT and deliberate key messages. When everyone communicates around the ANC January 8, it becomes a challenge to send cohesive reasonable message to constituents. The communication should be thinking of the following:
· Why January 08
· Why ANC exist and for whom?
· Is message about ANC or Elections? Separate the context
· Issues and challenges
· Government issues such as state capture and others should be separated from electioneering
· Clear story line for the ANC
· Clear purposeful invite for youth (graduates and ordinary)
· Objective outcome for messaging
ANC has not come out condemning unethical members who fundraise on its name. This has created a random criminal act which affect the integrity of the organisation. ANC should clearly condemn lack of financial management at youth league and insist that the organisation fundraising structures should be used for fundraising. This if not addressed with continue to taint the ANC in a way that it will go bankrupt. Issues of Website that cost 6 million was never addressed with confidence. Issues of media strategy during elections left a ghost in the ANC. Why is it not cleared properly? ANC lobbying should be decisive, clean and progressive.
ANC has an opportunity to amass votes in May only if it is interested. Unity cannot be preached but enforced. There should be consequences of doing wrong and misrepresenting ANC. ANC cannot afford arrogance and ignorance of over 51 million who have no political home but keep voting to protect the ANC. ANC should not demonstrate it is ok for any party to be formed because there is an opportunity for collaboration but strive for majority through people power campaigns.
· It is high time ANC focus on Trends, Opportunities within communities (Events, Conferences, Community Programmes, Graduates Programmes), Positioning (where does the ANC want to play), Competency (Skills sets needed to drive ANC mandate) and Goals (what are the immediate Goals towards elections and strengthening Authentic relationship with supporters in a quest to convert them to reliable members)
· ANC must have members because membership fund organisation
· ANC must have its leaders working on the actual ground and being visible than sending celebrities who are only doing work
· ANC must re-establish youth structures in line with renewal vision
· ANC must have confidence in youthful leaders
· ANC must align with institution of learning to influence education and learning for cadres and also re-establish Political School in all provinces
· More members improve loyalty and guaranteed votes
· Closed gap with constituency
· Youth interest generation
· Ownership of the ANC purpose and align to vision
· Leadership, ownership, contribution, endorsement, Following and observation
· ANC restoration
· Increased support
· Graduates confidence in ANC manifesto
· Community participation
· Shared values and integrity
· Volunteering (high skilled people, Innovation, creativity)
· ANC old traditional strategy for campaigning does not work and should be interrogated with youthful innovative ideologies
· Consistency on messaging, content, context, accessing, targeting and segmenting)
· Competitive ANC that is attractive