Even former president Jacob Zuma entered the fray yesterday and tweeted that Hanekom was a known “enemy agent”. This comes after party secretary-general Ace Magashule issued a strong-worded statement.
Political analysts believe this will be the burning issue at the NEC.
They say the issue will be raised even if it wasn’t on the agenda of the meeting, It will run from today to Monday and it is thought that the issue will divide the meeting.
Hanekom’s name dominated this week’s headlines after Julius Malema, the leader of the EFF, outed him and Solly Mapaila of the SACP as some of the tripartite alliance’s foot soldiers who in February 2018, amid a bid to oust Zuma from power, approached them.
Malema alleged that Hanekom even gave them a list of names of ANC MPs who were going to vote with the opposition to oust Zuma who was by that time powerless as his ANC presidency term had expired.
By yesterday afternoon, Hanekom had gone to ground, rarely taking questions like he did on Wednesday when he came out to confirm that indeed he met the leader of the EFF to discuss the matter and defended his actions.
However, analyst Thabani Khumalo said it would be political suicide for the opponents of Hanekom to raise the matter as they were facing more serious allegations than him.
Khumalo said it would even be easy for Hanekom and others to justify their action as at the time of the meeting there was a struggle to oust from power a president who was seen as toxic.
“The fact that Hanekom has come out to confirm the allegations made by Malema and said yes I did that in order to save the country means that he has got good reasons to justify what he did.
“He can use those reasons to challenge his opponents who are accused of forming smaller parties in the run-up to elections to ask them what their reasons for that were.
“His cause can earn him support and sympathy.
“He can justify his action.
“So yes, it is possible that it will be him (Hanekom) who will speak about the matter in order to disarm his enemies,” Khumalo said.
He added that provoking Hanekom may trigger a debate about the infamous Maharani hotel meeting that could place some members on the back foot.
Xolani Dube, a political analyst with Xubera institute, said there would be nothing for Hanekom to explain before the NEC as at that time the political environment was polluted.
ANC’s spokesperson, Pule Mabe, did not respond to questions.