South African Ruling ANC Riddled by Divisions, Top Official Says

(Bloomberg) -- South Africa’s ruling African National Congress is riddled with divisions, with officials battling each other for positions and access to resources, and it needs to take drastic action to arrest its decline, a top party official said.

There is “a growing trust deficit between the people and their movement,’’ ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe said in his report to the party’s policy conference that opened Friday in Johannesburg. There is “a decline in the ethics, values and traditions of the movement” and a perception that the party is entirely corrupt, he said.

President Jacob Zuma’s immersion in a series of scandals contributed to support for the ANC slipping to its lowest level since it took power in 1994 when it lost control of Johannesburg, the economic hub, and Pretoria, the capital in municipal elections in August. Zuma has since been implicated in a series of reports alleging that he and members of the Gupta family were party to a plot to loot billions of rand from the state.

While Zuma and the Guptas have denied wrongdoing, Mantashe said the party had been too dismissive of the allegations.

“It is, indeed, correct to state that the Guptas can do business anytime anywhere with whomsoever,” he said. “However, their relationships with the families of prominent leaders attract the attention of the people. When there are benefits that accrue to families of the leadership, it is assumed to be corrupt in that the political leaders are supposed to have facilitated the accrual of benefits.”