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Anthony Butler Discusses Modernising the Internal Functions of the ANC

The Idea of the ANCAnthony Butler, author of The Idea of the ANC, wrote a piece in Business Day in which he laid out the problems posed by outdated modes of operation within the ANC. He pointed to the fact that the processes and functions necessary to move the party forward could present continuing problems if not dealt with.

Butler says that “The weaknesses of internal systems also prevent the ANC from successfully performing the broader functions of a political party” but says that they will experience “major obstacles” if they do decide to “modernise” the party.

The recently elected leadership of the African National Congress (ANC) is focusing its energy in two distinct directions. Facing outwards, it has been promoting the National Development Plan to restore credibility to the government’s economic programme. But the leadership has also been looking nervously inwards, at the movement’s own murky entrails.

The dangers posed by unwieldy and technologically backward internal systems came into sharp focus before the Mangaung conference. Members of the “change faction” spoke darkly about the paralysis into which they would plunge the movement if they were defeated by unfair procedural means.

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