The African National Congress (ANC) is working on a new system to nominate party leaders ahead of the national conference as it battles slate politics.
Secretary general Gwede Mantashe on Monday told reporters during a briefing in Johannesburg that the party was working on building capacity at the national level to ensure it will be able to roll out the new system.
"There will be an electoral commission to say when branches nominate, they must seal the envelope and hand it over to a central place. If we don't do that, we will have a nomination by slates," he said.
Slate politics — when candidates group together to contest the top positions in a block or faction — has long been blamed for infighting and divisions after national elective conferences in the party. The 2017 process has seen the party encouraging members to refrain from such actions and rather to look at the qualities of the type of leaders they want.
Mantashe said the upcoming conference, that will be held in Gauteng from December 16-20, will involve 90 percent of delegates coming from branches. The new system will take away the power from regional and provincial leaders to influence who the province chooses.
"In line with the 2016 NGC [national general council] resolutions that the branch is the basic unit of the ANC, that slates must be outlawed and that serious action must be taken to prevent and deal with the practice of slates, the NEC [national executive council] resolved to do away with the practice of consolidating nominations for leadership at a regional and provincial level. All nominations for leadership from branches will be consolidated nationally by the Electoral Commission," said Mantashe.
Despite calls for members to refrain from slate politics, lists have been circulating with the names of preferred candidates to take over from president Jacob Zuma in December. Those tipped for the top post include deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa along with outgoing African Union chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Their names have bee circulated despite the party having said that the nomination process has not started. The process will start with membership audits during May and June with audit queries being dealt with in July and August.
"A proposed timetable towards conference has been developed and will be circulated to structures of the organisation," he said.