'ANC must change its election system'

Essop Pahad says allowing each ANC member to vote would provide more legitimacy.

President Jacob Zuma and his Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe attend the ANC's 2012 policy conference in Midrand. Picture: Sapa

JOHANNESBURG - The ANC's National Executive Committee has formally given the party's provinces of the Western Cape and Limpopo until Wednesday to finalise their nominations conferences.

Meanwhile, former cabinet minister Essop Pahad said the party's new leadership after Mangaung will need to focus on healing the ANC, to prevent the damage caused during the contest from becoming permanent.

He also said the party should change its leadership election system to allow each ANC member to vote.

Both the Western Cape and Limpopo have battled to hold a peaceful conference.

Now the pressure will be on, and there are no signs of internal tensions ebbing in any way.

But even if the conferences do collapse again, their delegates will still vote at the ANC's elective conference itself.

Meanwhile, Pahad has warned that the party's new leaders must deal urgently with the damage caused by the leadership contest.

"The incoming leadership of the ANC must then deal with these very, very tragic developments because if they don't, the damage to the ANC can become very serious."

He also said the current ANC election system needs to change.

"This approach where branches need to have a forum, then branch delegates fight over credentials, needs to be addressed."

Pahad also said the election process would have more legitimacy if each member could vote.

"In that case, the leadership that emerges will really reflect the true wishes of the membership of the ANC."

But his proposal is likely to be strongly opposed by those who control the current branch and provincial systems.