Johannesburg - The ANC national executive committee (NEC) was under “paralysis” when former president Jacob Zuma led the party as the factional balance of power was in his favour, the Zondo commission heard.
This is what former minister of public service and administration Ngoako Ramatlhodi told the commission during his explosive testimony at the inquiry on Wednesday.
Ramatlhodi described the period after Zuma was re-elected as president of the ANC for a second term as a period of “madness” as the party took responsibility for issues caused by Zuma.
“That period was a season of madness, in the sense that there was paralysis of the NEC. This was in a sense that there was a faction led by the head of the ANC,” said Ramatlhodi.
“This went to ridiculous levels in a way that we took collective responsibility of an issue. The NEC owned up to the mistakes that the former president had done, we took collective responsibility for something the president had done,” he said.
The former minister said Zuma had a strong solidified faction within the NEC, the ANC’s highest decision-making structure of the ANC.
He said Zuma had a grouping that would push his agendas for him.
The chairperson of the inquiry Raymond Zondo appeared baffled by the Ramatlhodi’s description of how the ANC NEC operated.
Zondo asked why it had taken so long for the party to take action?
Ramatlhodi replied saying the numbers were against those that wanted Zuma to take responsibility for the Gupta family’s influence and power.
He described how a motion recommending Zuma to resign did not succeed. He said resigning was also not an option so a number of people found it useless to speak up during NEC meetings.
“You reach a point where is it useless to speak because you cannot influence anyone. So you tend to give up,” said Ramatlhodi.
“Maybe an option would be to resign, but if you do so the balance of power might change one day and you might not be able to implement decisions and get him to resign. Eventually, we managed to get him to resign.”
The former minister said a solution to solving the issue of factions within the ANC would be to change the decision-making structure of the ANC.
“If you want to amend, you would amend the way the ANC takes decisions so that no one has the power to impose the authority over decisions and substitute those decisions with his own and call them the decision of the NEC,” he said.
Ramatlhodi concluded his testimony on Wednesday afternoon. His former advisor Mahlodi Samuel Muofhe was next to take the stand.