ANC: Don't judge us by member numbers

The party says a drop in numbers reflects people who’ve not paid fees & renewed their official memberships.

President Jacob Zuma and deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa at the ANC NGC in Midrand on 11 October 2015. Picture: Dineo Bendile/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC)'s top six leaders say the party's National General Council (NGC), held at the weekend, has shown the organisation is healthy and should not be judged by its current membership numbers.

One of the main themes discussed was organisation renewal and rooting out corruption and factionalism within the ANC's ranks.

The party says its overall membership has not declined, and a drop of around 250,000 people announced by President Jacob Zuma only reflects those people who have not paid their fees and renewed their official memberships.

ANC membership dropped from 1.2 million to around 770,000 since its Mangaung conference in 2012.

Zuma says the entire country needs to take a look at its policies taken at the weekend.

"There were many good outcomes and I think almost all the issues that were put there were discussed, and there were specific resolutions taken. In general, as we presented the declaration, we were saying this has been a good NGC and delegates participated quite enthusiastically."

WATCH: ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe addresses the drop in the ruling party's membership numbers.

At the same time, the ANC's senior leadership has called for a return to rational voting and the destruction of slates within the party, saying the practice has compromised branches, which are at the centre of the party.

Zuma says that while slates started through free choice, this has eroded democracy in the branches and must change.

"The manner in which we take decisions in which we appoint and vote for people is objective. It's based on what capabilities they have. At times it could be a comrade who is doing too much toyi-toying than anybody else, and then is given a position where he can't do anything."

His deputy Cyril Ramaphosa says the party needs to move away from branches being used as voting fodder.

"The basic unit of the ANC, which is the branch, must regain its voice when it comes to the choice of leaders. It should no longer be a branch that is just pulled by the nose and given a slate."

Meanwhile, the ruling party has also called for co-operation from South Africans, to find a common vision that will create a national identity.

A commission on social transformation says it has received a recommendation for the local language of each province to be taught as a second language in schools.

The ANC says the proposed measure is just one of the ways it hopes to create a unique South African identity.

Human settlements minister Lindiwe Sisulu says the teaching of indigenous languages in schools could create the commonality needed for a national identity.

"We are expecting that there will be a second language for all of us, which is an African language around which we could all have some commonality and be able to communicate."

The commission on social transformation has warned against Afrikaans being treated as the uniform second language of the country, especially in schools.

It's been recommended that more of the official languages be taught to South Africans as the party grapples with creating cohesion.

WATCH: As the ANC's National General Council drew to an end on Sunday, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa took a tour of the business exhibition in Midrand.