ANC’s strategy for ‘Nkandla 2’

2016-10-30 06:00
President Jacob Zuma. (AFP)

President Jacob Zuma. (AFP)

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While President Jacob Zuma battles in court to delay the release of the Public Protector’s report on alleged state capture before questioning witnesses who gave evidence implicating him, the ANC leadership now seeks a strategy to deal with the report’s potential impact on the party.

An interim ANC national working committee (NWC) report has flagged the need to adopt a “concrete strategy” to handle the Public Protector’s investigation into state capture, of which the final report is believed to implicate Zuma.

“The state capture investigation by the Public Protector is going to be a complication that requires a concrete strategy by the ANC,” the report reads.

The party is planning in advance to find ways to buffer the potential impact, considering that barely six months have passed since the Constitutional Court found that President Zuma failed to uphold and protect the Constitution.

The ConCourt also found that Parliament had failed in its duties.

At the same time, there is said to be a furore ranging at branch level about the current leadership’s failure to foster accountability.

The report shows that the party is walking on egg shells after branches – a number of which called for Zuma’s head – have criticised the party’s national executive committee (NEC) for failing party members in its handling of the Nkandla ConCourt judgment, and prematurely closing its own probe into state capture.

The party’s decision to change tactics and not repeat past mistakes is apparently linked to this outcry from the branches.

City Press understands that should the Public Protector report contain adverse findings on Zuma or any other official in the ANC, the party would have no option but to subject them to either the party’s integrity commission or disciplinary committee.

If Zuma were to decide to take the report for a review, the party’s planned action could be delayed.

Although the NWC report has not suggested alternative strategies to counter the fallout if leaders were implicated in state capture, City Press understands that it comes after thorough consultation with branches.

The report notes how branches insisted that apart from “collective responsibility” they wanted to see an element of “individual responsibility” taken into account.

The report nudged the NEC to be bold and candid in developing a programme of action towards the 2019 elections and to confront the negativity said to characterise the party.

“Any sense of being in denial will delay recovery, and risk deepening the crisis further. It is only boldness that will save the soul of the ANC,” the report says.

But this would “require openness to the ideas of people in structures” and “engaging with those who have a destructive approach”.

The report cautioned against a vindictive attitude towards dissenting voices in the party, which it said fed into the current negativity.

Despite a tone of reconciliation, an open war continued to play itself out in the ANC this week, as some leaders scolded their colleagues who dared to speak out about the crisis.

This included reaction to ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu, after he told City Press he had proposed to the national executive committee that the party’s top leaders step down for having failed members.

Currently, the ANC is also divided over the pending prosecution of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, whose fraud case is set for Wednesday, with leaders openly disapproving of colleagues who expressed support for Gordhan.

Meanwhile, the party’s military veterans chairperson, Kebby Maphatsoe, an ardent Zuma supporter, claimed the NWC report could have been doctored.

He is among those who have called for Mthembu, labelled as ill-disciplined for speaking out, to be removed from Parliament.

The report went on to make certain recommendations for the 2019 elections:

- To focus on the coloured and Indian vote and, in doing so, to counter the view that the ANC has abandoned nonracialism;

- To subject the NEC to a reorientation, as the party tries to unite branches ahead of its next conference;

- To ensure ministers and MECs deliver on projects and support ward councillors;

- To ensure NEC members helped the organisation recuperate and reach out to broader society, with visits to homes, and resolve issues around manipulation of list processes; and

- To embark on an education programme for party organisers.

Meanwhile, the report stated that the ANC can no longer use the lame excuse that people must bring “evidence” about corruption.

Read more on:    anc  |  jacob zuma  |  nkandla

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