The ANC is not in a growth phase. For the past decade its trajectory has been downhill as it grapples with a radically changed opposition. Picture: REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO

AN early ANC national elective conference will only result in deepening disunity within the ANC and across its alliance‚ the South African Communist Party (SACP) says‚ adding that it believes the motivation behind calls for such a conference are "entirely factional".

Instead‚ the SACP is urging the ANC to convene a nonelective consultative conference.

Saying it had taken note of calls by the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) for an early ANC national elective conference‚ the SACP said it was also aware that the ANCYL was being used by others to test the waters in this regard.

"While any decision on the timing of an ANC national conference must‚ of course‚ be made by the ANC itself‚ the SACP is firmly of the belief that the motivation for this call is entirely factional. If followed through it will result in deepening disunity within the ANC and across its alliance. The winners will inherit a shell organisation‚" the SACP said at the conclusion of a meeting of its central committee.

"The SACP believes there is great merit in considering the possibility of a national ANC consultative (or special) conference prior to the ANC’s national conference. Such a consultative conference should be a nonelective event‚ with ANC provinces being accorded an equal number of delegates to avoid endless accreditation disputes.

"The aim of the consultative conference should be to unify the ANC and indeed the broader alliance on a principled programmatic basis. Agreement should be reached‚ if possible‚ on the transition to a new leadership‚ and‚ at the very least on mechanisms to ensure that the December 2017 conference will not be characterised by a shoot-out between winner-takes-all mutually exclusive slates‚" the SACP added.

Regardless of the winning slate‚ such an outcome would simply accelerate the decline of the ANC‚ it said.

"An effective consultative conference should also be a unifying space in which we can all reflect upon and take individual and collective responsibility for mistakes we have made. We do not exclude the SACP from this self-reflective and responsibility-taking imperative. We believe that alliance partners should be allowed an active role in the conference.

"Consideration should also be given to inviting senior and respected veterans of our movement‚ and even other progressive forces like‚ for instance‚ the South African Council of Churches. Let us be prepared to listen to those whose criticism of us is motivated by a genuine concern about the future of our movement and our country‚ and not by petty personality hatreds or an inveterate anti-ANC position."

TMG Digital