POLITICAL NEWS - From an identity book-sized folding paper card introduced after its unbanning in the early ’90s to the driver’s licence-type card, the ANC membership system has metamorphosed into the interactive digital world – at last.
The ANC’s Chief Albert Luthuli House headquarters in Johannesburg announced the news yesterday that the technology-enabled membership system was live.
The party invited members to get online and start managing and updating their memberships, including the updating of personal details, and new ones to join after the system went live on the ANC website.
The online system was officially launched on 28 February but had to undergo a series of technical tune-ups and tests in the last few months.
While the ANC has entered the digital world, it is still behind the Democratic Alliance, which has been doing manual electronic membership for sometime now.
It was not clear if the Economic Freedom Fighters’ membership was processed online or not, as the party had not responded to a query sent yesterday.
Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said the move was a “step in the right direction to eliminate loopholes that can be said to be technical in nature”.
“However, it is still necessary for branches to be disciplined and hold proper meetings and strengthen internal processes. Improving registration system will not on its own strengthen internal processes within the party,” Mathekga said.
After its unbanning, along with other liberation organisations, the ANC introduced a card system that showed a column where monthly subscription fees were entered by the branch secretary.
“This is a significant development in the 108-year long journey of the ANC as it continuously seeks to renew and modernise itself. Current members are required to register on the system so as to be able to manage their membership, including renewal, updating of details and creating electronic membership,” said the party.
The new system would also discourage gatekeeping and replace the old manual system which was said to be not coping with the demand.
The ANC resorted to the electronic system after it was hit by numerous scandals of membership bulk buying and ghost memberships, especially towards its conferences. This was encouraged by the fact that the more the membership a faction had, the better the chances of winning at the elective conferences.
Observers believed that even the new system was not foolproof, despite the ANC bragging about it. If the branch secretary belongs to a particular faction, it was likely that branch official would manipulate the process to suit their camp’s interest.