While the ANC’s new membership online registration system was introduced to eliminate gatekeeping, the gatekeepers have come up with new ways to deny new members from joining the ruling party.
According to an internal party memo, the practice is rife in the troubled Ehlanzeni region in Mpumalanga and the coordinator of the regional task team, Phazamisa Mathe, has had to intervene in writing before the members who joined the party online could be allowed to take part in branch general meetings (BGMs).
In a letter dated May, the 11th, 2021 and addressed to branches and their leaders, they have been alerted that some branches were not allowing new members to take part in meetings. Mathe pleaded with those denying new members access to meetings to cease doing so or face the wrath of the ruling party
“All BECs and BTTs are asked to demand all branch secretaries and scribes to accept membership who have joined the organisation. It has been confirmed by the region that there are branch secretaries and scribes who are resisting, refusing to approve members who have joined the organisation in the ANC new membership system on their own,” said Mathe.
“They claim that such comrades belong to other members and we are saying as the region that all comrades who join the ANC do not belong to individuals as the ANC belongs to the people. All branch secretaries and scribers who do not want to accept membership are going to be exposed and as their conduct is (meant to) undermine the resolutions of the ANC and they will be held responsible and disciplinary measures are going to be instituted against them,” Mathe wrote in the letter.
He further warned that defying these instructions is in breach of the ruling party’s resolutions which should be respected by all. Mathe said that all branch Secretaries and Scribes who do not want to present the membership list during BEC, BTT and Pre-BGMs meetings for membership verification by members are violating the ANC guidelines on conferences and they are going to be exposed and will be liable for disciplinary measures.
He said these people undermine their mandate and membership role as custodian of membership. Mathe further added that all comrades who are affected by ward demarcation and are to be transferred, must be accepted by branches, he said Secretaries and Scriber must accept them as soon as their transfer is confirmed or completed.
“No resistance is expected from Secretaries and Scriber as custodian of membership. As an Organisation, this is a final warning to all those cdes (comrades) to make sure that they serve every member in their respective branches and do away with factional battles as this affects the organisation. We are going to monitor such processes on daily basis and we call upon all members who are affected to feel free and report this challenges (sic) without fear as the ANC belongs to them while they are the members of the organisation,” said Mathe.
Mathe also confirmed the authenticity of the letter during a telephonic interview he had with Independent Media recently. He said while the matter was an internal one, they are dealing with the challenges and they are happy that everyone is cooperating and the new members would be accepted. He also stressed that the objectives of the new system are to grow the ANC by allowing as many people as possible to join it.