ANC bolsters its election machinery for 'overwhelming victory' in 2019 elections

2018-03-01 17:20

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Johannesburg - ANC member Febe Potgieter-Gqubule has quit as an SABC board member, just five months after she was formally appointed, and has swapped her position at the public broadcaster for a permanent job as the ruling party's general manager.

She joins an all-star team of ANC senior members, deployed to the party's headquarters on a full-time basis, to bolster its election machinery for the 2019 elections, which are expected to be hotly contested.

The team brings together former foes in the party's 2017 elective conference, including Senzo Mchunu, who narrowly lost to Ace Magashule for the secretary general position.

The SABC said in a statement that Potgieter-Gqubule had undertaken in her appointment interview to resign from the Board if she was appointed in any official capacity which could potentially constitute a material conflict of interest. 

It thanked her for her contributions and wished her well in her new role.

READ: Zuma to join ANC 'on the ground' during 2019 election campaigns

The new permanent recruits to Luthuli House were formally introduced to the media during a press conference on Thursday.

Some insiders close to Mchunu and Ramaphosa have said they needed him there because they don't trust Magashule.

However, deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte played down speculation that Mchunu, who contested alongside Ramaphosa, had been brought in to weaken Magashule's powers.  

'Building a stronger ANC'

"This [Senzo Mchunu matter] feeds into the narrative that we come here as contestants. We are not, we are a team. We have been given a mandate to build a stronger ANC and modernise it to ensure we have decisive victory for 2019," Duarte said.

"There are no competitors here. This is a team," she added.

Mchunu, who is the former premier and chairperson of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, is now head of organising, reporting to Magashule. He is deputised by Dakota Legoete, who is the former secretary for the North West province. They both supported different factions in the run-up to the party elections.

"We see no stampede or possible stampede in terms of the work we need to do at head office. We see ourselves as assembled by the SGO (secretary general's office) as a team," Mchunu said.

Fikile Mbalula, who was fired as Minister of Police in Monday night's Cabinet reshuffle, is now the head of elections.

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule introducing new permanent employees at Luthuli House. Fikile Mbalula is head of elections and Febe Potgieter-Gqubule is the party's new general manager. (Mahlatse Mahlase, News24)

'A 360-degree evaluation ahead of the elections'

Former spokesperson Zizi Kodwa's new role is focusing, among others, on monitoring and evaluating the performance of party deployees at various levels of government, including ministers.

"You've got to visit an office of somebody to see if he or she is doing their job.

"We will do a 360-degree evaluation before elections of all MPs and MPLs. So we don't fumble when we go to our people before the elections, about who had done what," he said.

The ANC however, could not fully explain its policy on land expropriation without compensation after a historic vote in the National Assembly on Tuesday that paved the way for a review of section 25 of the Constitution.

Deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte could only say there was a land use plan in the making to reverse ownership of land by a minority.

READ: Ramaphosa: Land motion 'no reason to panic or start beating war drums'

"We can't walk away from our resolution. The panic is in fact being stimulated by some people, including our good friends who say overseas that South Africa is another Zimbabwe…There is a land use plan in the making," she said.

Mbalula defended the party for supporting the EFF motion, despite rejecting it last year when it was brought by the party to the National Assembly. He said then the party had no mandate from its conference to support expropriation without compensation.

"Does [the]ANC have moral claim to this? Of course, who came before it is a tactical question in relation to who claims victory but, at the end of day, we have not veered away from question. We came from [the] conference with [a] decisive decision on this matter."

The review of the Constitution is expected to be concluded in August.

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