NEC members in Cabinet to be limited - Fikile Mbalula

Body will also decide whether to remove Zuma as state president

NEC members in Cabinet to be limited

Johannesburg – There will be a limit on the number of members of the ANC's national executive committee (NEC) who will serve in Cabinet.

Providing feedback on the discussions of the ANC's sub-committee on strategy and tactics on Wednesday, Fikile Mbalula said there must be a balance regarding the number of NEC members and national working committee members serving in Cabinet. This was a proposal from the policy conference in July.

Mbalula couldn't say how many NEC members would serve in Cabinet.

In October, the ANC veterans adopted a resolution that no more than eight NEC members should be employed in the Cabinet.

Their reasoning was that limiting the number of Cabinet ministers in the NEC would end the grip of patronage on the party.

However, another sub-committee resolved to uphold the ANC's current policy that the hiring and firing of members of Cabinet remain the President's competency, as per the Constitution. However, he has to consult within the liberation movement before making decisions.

"Internally within the ANC, the president consults with the officials. That position has not changed," said member of the sub-committee on Constitutional amendments, Dr Mathole Motshekga.

He also said the idea of including how the ANC's MPs should vote was not included in the party's constitution.

"All political parties don't allow people to vote according to their conscience because, before an issue is placed before Parliament for voting, there are political caucuses where matters are discussed and an agreement is reached within the party caucus," said Motshekga.

The proposal was made after President Jacob Zuma survived a motion of no confidence vote via secret ballot in August.

Some ANC members had refused to stick to the party line saying they wanted to vote with their consciences.

"This matter did not even arise because it is dealt with within internal party processes," said Motshekga. News24

ANC will be centre of power

Johannesburg - The ANC is effectively clipping President Jacob Zuma's wings through its resolution that the party's national executive committee (NEC) be its centre of power.

"The centre of power is the African National Congress," Fikile Mbalula said when he addressed the media on the outcomes of the policy discussion, by the commission on strategy and tactics on Wednesday, at the ANC's 54th national conference.

President Zuma is no longer the party's president, but remains the head of state.

Mbalula said the conference had concluded that the NEC would decide whether or not to remove Zuma and appoint an integrity committee which will make decisions that are binding.

Asked about the two centres of power – with Zuma in charge at the Union Buildings and Cyril Ramaphosa leading Luthuli House – Mbalula said this relationship must be managed by the NEC.

He said if there is a decision to recall President Jacob Zuma, it will be a decision of the NEC "as the centre of power".

Integrity committee to be given more powers

Several ANC members have continued to push for the party to recall Zuma, despite him surviving two attempts by certain members of the NEC to recall him. Others wanted Zuma's fate to be decided during the conference, however, the move was abandoned.

Mbalula said with Cyril Ramaphosa as ANC president and Zuma as state president, the party was in a position similar to when the Polokwane conference of 2007 saw Zuma elected as ANC president while Thabo Mbeki was state president.

"It must be managed," he said of the situation.

"The ANC must take decisions and give a mandate to its deployees in government," Mbalula said.

There was also a resolution to give the party's integrity committee, whose decisions could be overturned by the NEC, more "biting" powers. It will no longer have to seek approval from the NEC before calling members to account. The commission met with Zuma in December 2016 and asked him to resign, however, he refused.

Mbalula said now the committee can contact a member of the party directly.

Internal elections office to be established

According to Mbalula, the committee has the authority to ask party members to explain their conduct outside of party matters.

"Come here and explain yourself. Why do you have so many girlfriends?" Mbalula said, giving an example of a question the commission might ask of members.

He said the NEC would appoint the new members of the committee currently chaired by ANC veteran Andrew Mlangeni "to ensure that in the ANC matters of integrity are non-negotiable".

The tactics commission also decided to establish a permanent elections office for its internal elections. One of the rules to be implemented by this office is that candidates must declare their interests and the sources of their campaign funds "so that we don't entertain the question of money laundering," said Mbalula.

Further plans include that provision should be made for gender equity in all the ANC's leadership structures, including in the top six; the establishment of a council of elders; and the reduction of the age limit of members of the ANC Youth League. Regression in terms of the representation of women in the top positions was also noted. The newly elected top six consists of one woman, Jessie Duarte, who retained her position as deputy secretary-general.

Chair of the strategy and tactics subcommittee Nathi Mthethwa spoke about the controversy over monopoly capital vs white monopoly capital that has dominated the ANC's elections campaigns. He said this debate would continue.