Adriaan Basson

Editor's notes: Why the new ANC NEC will make or break Ramaphosa's term

2017-12-20 11:27
Front-runner and former wife of President Jacob Zuma, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and front-runner and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa share a laugh at the delayed start of the ANC elective conference. (Themba Hadebe, AP)

Front-runner and former wife of President Jacob Zuma, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and front-runner and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa share a laugh at the delayed start of the ANC elective conference. (Themba Hadebe, AP)

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To appoint a new head of the NPA, to fix the South African Revenue Service, to appoint a judicial commission of inquiry into state capture, to save Treasury from being looted, and to make sure the Zuptas face their day in court, ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa simply has to get rid of Jacob Zuma as president of South Africa in the next few months, if not weeks.

That’s why Wednesday’s announcement of the party’s new national executive committee (NEC) is essential for any chance Ramaphosa has to clean up government during his tenure. With a split top six, Ramaphosa will heavily depend on the new NEC to firstly help him with a Zuma exit plan, and secondly, support his anti-corruption and good governance efforts.

The NEC is the highest decision-making body of the ANC. All major decisions between national conferences go through this body. It is made up of the top six plus 80 additional members plus 24 ex-officio members, made up of two representatives each per province and from the leagues.

The 4776 voting delegates to Nasrec on Tuesday voted through the night to make sure the conference at least has a new NEC before it closes with Ramaphosa’s first speech as president on Wednesday night.

Due to delays with credentials and top six voting, the conference is running way behind schedule and the party would not have completed deliberations on policy matters when they return to their provinces on Thursday morning.

The party’s electoral commission is expected to report back on the disputed 60+ votes matter at the first plenary today. News24’s sources say chances are very slim of the outcome for secretary general changing, meaning Ace Magashule will probably remain the “CEO” of Luthuli House.

This is a massive headache for Ramaphosa. Magashule is intimately linked to the Zupta state capture project and will report back to Zuma on every move Ramaphosa makes.

That’s why the outcome of the NEC election is so important for Buffalo Bill Cyril. If people like Pravin Gordhan, Mondli Gungubele, Mcebisi Jonas, Jackson Mthembu, Angie Motshekga and Derek Hanekom – all staunch Ramaphosa campaigners – make it onto the NEC, Ramaphosa has a better chance of negotiating an exit for Zuma.

What shape will such an exit take? Without having complete control over the top six, Ramaphosa will have to carefully design a graceful exit for Zuma and probably incentivise him and his supporters. He cannot afford to promise Zuma indemnity from prosecution; that will undermine his entire campaign ticket.

If Zuma refuses to go, Ramaphosa will need the help of the NEC to kick him out. There are enough court judgments to justify recalling Zuma as president of the country.

Both Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s camps had their own NEC slates of 80 names. An NEC sympathetic to Dlamini-Zuma will be a nightmare for Ramaphosa. This will tie his hands further and raise the spectre that he may be recalled himself if he tries to prosecute dodgy comrades.

That’s why the result of the NEC election can make or break Ramaphosa’s term.

Read more on:    cyril ramaphosa  |  anc  |  anc nec
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