Tense battle for soul of ANC as NEC meets for second day
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The battle for the heart and soul of the ANC continues unabated as the factions supporting and opposing President Cyril Ramaphosa drew a line in the sand at the start of the national executive committee (NEC) meeting on Saturday.
NEC member and one of the party's spokespersons, Dakota Legoete, said that the "NEC had become a liability to the nation" and has called for a special conference.
In a leaked audio recording from Saturday's meeting, Legoete said there were many people in the ANC facing corruption.
“I think the matters of the suspension letters must be made clear when we leave this meeting. The other point that I think we have reached is that this NEC will become a liability to the nation and the structures. Narrow factions are not helping the movement,” said Legoete.
“I want to propose to provinces, regions and branches that we must either consider Rule 29 of the constitution of having a special conference. That’s because we have reached a point where we are not dealing with proper service delivery despite the pandemic, jobs, investments and infrastructure roll-out. We are stuck. If some of us are not prepared to repent and help the movement, move forward, then we must go for a special conference and apply Rule 29. We can't continue like this,” he said.
Staunch Ramaphosa ally Stan Mathabatha, who is also Limpopo provincial chairperson and premier, spoke out against the problems and defended Ramaphosa.
“The president that we have today is one of the best we have ever found in the ANC and we must support him, comrades. The problem that I see is that the comrades who run around plotting to be the defenders of the president, they run around dividing the ANC and pursuing their personal and factional agendas in our provinces,” said Mathabatha.
He said there are people who are organising meetings in his province.
“If the president or the chairperson of the top 5 so permit, I can organise a meeting with them and mention those comrades by name and the meetings that they convened in my province. At the meeting some of us were allocated to factions that we don’t even know. It’s depressing, comrade chairperson, this is our president and we will all defend him,” he said.
ANC Northern Cape chairperson Dr Zamani Saul has warned of more strife and chaos in the governing party over the implementation of the step-aside rule for leaders and members implicated in wrongdoing.
Addressing the ANC Francis Baard regional conference on Saturday, Saul told delegates that the step-aside rule was one of the most critical aspects of the party’s renewal.
“Stepping aside is a conference resolution. It’s not that the NEC took that decision; it is the national conference that took that decision. Go and read the national conference resolution, it’s very clear that people who are charged must step aside,” he said.
Tensions are set to ratchet up on Sunday when branches in the powerful eThekwini region hosts a media briefing to unveil their plans regarding the 'imminent arrest" of former president Jacob Zuma for defying the Constitutional Court order, and the removal of Ace Magashule from the NEC meeting.
Ntando Khuzwayo, spokesperson for the convening branches of the briefing, said they will also speak on implementation of the step-side resolution. He, however, refused to divulge the exact details of their plans to support Magashule and Zuma, but reiterated that the region’s branches were in full support of the two embattled ANC leaders.
Although reports emerging on Saturday confirmed that the suspended secretary-general was blocked from attending, he told Independent Media that this was not the case.
Magashule said from 8am on Saturday he was part of the meeting with the ANC Women’s League National Working Committee (NWC), then had a meeting with the top 6 and then, at around 10am, he was part of a meeting discussing his appeal.
“The meeting discussed my appeal. In that meeting various people discussed whether I should be part of the meeting or not, while others insisted that I be part of it because I have appealed. After the discussion, the chairman Gwede Mantashe, said they would make a decision another time,” said Magashule.