A conference in 2000 once pondered on the question of whether or not it will be viable for SANCO to contest on its own but now the question is cropping up again.
The South African National Civic Organization (SANCO) is considering reviving its debate on whether they should contest elections on their own or not.
One of the three alliance partners of the ANC, SANCO is a non-political community organisation and has been in existence at least since the 1980s when various community groupings formed to fight Apartheid merged to form it and partnered with the ANC.
Now the organisation says they have been “marginalised” for too long in the ANC-led alliance and the system of pumping votes to the ANC has not helped it achieve the agenda of the communities.
SANCO is currently preparing an early national conference that will sit and elect new leaders in February 2018.
It is still not clear why an early national conference is called by the civic movement but provincial secretary Mike Soko says the upper structure resolved to have the conference in February 2018 rather than in December 2018 “due to various political issues”.
Mpumalanga SANCO now wants to try and convince the national conference to return to the discussions about contesting elections, a debate the civic organisation once had in 2000.
Soko said the “reconfigured alliance”, in which they pumped votes into the ANC in the hope that the ruling party would take and implement the mandate they get from their constituents, has failed.
He said power and decisions have gotten “centralised to individuals” in the ANC and their policy proposals thrown into the dustbin.
Now they believe reviving the debate on the topic can pave a way through the challenges they have with the ANC.
“History has thought us a very harsh lesson that SANCO remains marginalised,” Soko said in a statement released after their provincial executive committee meeting in Badplaas over the weekend.
“SANCO’s vision of building a people-centred and people-driven [state] remains isolated,” he said.
“The envisaged reconfiguration of the alliance did not materialise and power was centralised to individuals at the helm of state power and this approach led to an extension of abuse of power, marginalisation of SANCO comrades, isolations of SANCO policy proposals, and other issues –Mpumalanga province is not an exception,” Soko said
The PEC meeting was held at the Aventura resorts on Saturday and mandated the province to draft a discussion document ahead of the national conference.
They want a shift from being a non-political formation to taking “a more active political role, which includes considering independently contesting elections or the use of active electoral pact strategy, amongst others”.
“SANCO members and leaders in Mpumalanga and other provinces developed an appetite to resuscitate the previously held discussion on the SANCO options to the elections,” the secretary said.
“These options included amongst others, the retention of the current SANCO character, the establishment of SANCO development agency and reshaping SANCO as a revolutionary social movement, and but most importantly, SANCO’s options to contest elections,” he said.
“Efforts to engage with the ANC have proven to be futile and we are encouraged by the SACP’s unambiguous call to build a mass popular front and contest state power. Hence the call to resuscitate the discussion we held in the late 1990’s and considered by the National Conference in the year 2000,” he said.
He said they also plan on getting the national conference to establish a women and youth structures.
They also want the Mpumalanga government to find ways of using the unused land for agricultural purposes and also congratulated the Mpumalanga education department for implementing the progression policy and encouraging those who could not make it to rewrite their exams.
(edited by MLM)
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