Why Reconciliation, healing and Renewal programme (Setsokotsane) for ANC members

This article is written by Oupa Matla in his own personal capacity.


As the movement that bears the singular historic responsibility to unite all our people, the ANC’s first responsibility is itself to be united so that it can lead society as a “powerful and effective instrument”. Secondly, if the ANC in the Province want to achieve 80% for the coming 2014 National and Provincial Election it must ensure that its membership is united towards that goal.

The ability by the Provincial Executive Committee of the ANC in the North West to embarked on a such ground-breaking programme must be applauded, having assessed the public discourse in the recent times amongst some members of the ANC, the initiative is a must have programme. Sepedi idiom says Tloga tloga e tswa natso modisa wa dikgomo o tswa natso sakeng, Setswana idiom further says Diporogwana tsa pula di baakangwa e sale gale.

Unity and internal cohesion is central to effective organization and ANC North West is no exception to this fact. Many liberation movements and revolutionary parties that failed to manage their internal contradictions fell by the way-side, leaving their noble ideals unaccomplished. Hence the ANC NEC has declared 2013 as year of unity towards socio-economic freedom.

Unity is built on basic principles of what the movement stands for and how it should operate in carrying out its mission. Unity cannot and should not be equated with an absence of differences within structures of the organisation.However the ANC in the North West have provided platforms to resolve such   Contradictions and differences in forums like consistent BEC`s monthly political Schools,REC`s quarterly political classes, monthly political classes for all council caucuses, Forum for festival of Ideas (FFI) after every PEC meeting and Setsokotsane on Mondays after every Provincial Working Committee (PWC) meeting.

Contractions and differences will always arise in any organization as big as the ANC but they should not be confused with ill-discipline. The challenge is to manage and turn contradictions into a source of strength, rather than a source of cabals and factions. Over 101 years, the ANC has been able to manage contradictions effectively because it has encouraged and nurtured it. The ANC is not Machine or a conveyer belt.

The PEC has demonstrated a culture of collective leadership, understanding that no single individual, however committed or experienced, has the ability or wisdom to bring about social change on their own. Leaders have to function as collectives that constantly exchange views and share organizational tasks and get guidance from the membership and involve them in the work of the organization. Through collective decision-making and implementation, individual leaders influence one another’s views and perspectives, share experiences on dealing with organizational and political matters and therefore gain confidence that improves the performance and effectiveness of the organization

This lays the basis for unity of purpose, one of the main ingredients of internal cohesion. Encouraging a culture of criticism and self-criticism helps the cadreship of the movement to approach questions and practical problems of social transformation with critical minds rather than with dogma. This culture lays the basis for cadres and leaders to constantly reflect on and learn from their daily experience and methods of work, thus creating a possibility to become even better agents for change.

The PEC must be applauded because this is indeed Unity in action, recognizing that ideological unity is necessary but insufficient. It must be matched by unity through the disciplined implementation of an agreed programme of action. Unity only becomes a material force or “powerful and effective instrument” for revolutionary change when it is translated into action. However they must be mindful of the fact that, if you are sent to the river to fetch water you must not listen to frogs making lot of noise because the intention is to distract you.


This article is written by Oupa Matla in his own personal capacity

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