ANC veterans want NEC members out of Cabinet

2017-10-20 18:04
Parliament (News24)

Parliament (News24)

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Johannesburg - ANC veterans want senior members elected to the party's powerful national executive committee (NEC) to be ineligible for Cabinet appointments.

This is an attempt to end the patronage of the president of the party.

"NEC members should not be employed in the Cabinet. If we are to appoint in Cabinet, it should be no more than eight NEC members," this is contained in the resolution documents from the veteran's conference last weekend.

Zuma's Cabinet has been dominated by NEC members, with some of those who call for his recall being fired.

He has faced two failed attempts within the NEC to recall him, with critics arguing some members feared to lose their cushy Cabinet jobs.

Newly elected president of the ANC Veterans' League Snuki Zikalala told News24 that limiting the number of Cabinet ministers in the NEC would end the grip of patronage on the party.

"Currently, what is happening is that people in the NEC are employees of Cabinet appointed by the president, they can't be critical of the president.

"We want people who are independent and who don't rely on the president for salaries and positions. It will end patronage," he said.

Escalating tension

The veterans have called on the NEC to recall Zuma in the wake of the Supreme Court of Appeal's ruling that the decision by the National Prosecuting Authority to withdraw charges of corruption against Zuma in 2009 was irrational.

Tensions have escalated within the ANC-led tripartite alliance after Zuma reshuffled his Cabinet for the second time in seven months without consulting his colleagues in the top six and the party's alliance partners, the SACP and labour federation Cosatu.

When asked if Zuma's unilateral change of his executive was a sign that he does not answer to the organisation, Zikalala said he doesn't blame Zuma but the NEC collective.

He said the ANC's revered "Through the eye of the needle" document, which is a guide on the qualities and values of a leader, dictates that governing and running the organisation "is not a one-man show". "So why is there silence from the collective?" Zikalala asked.

"We are putting all the blame on the NEC because they are supposed to work together with the president and say this cannot happen – 12th Cabinet reshuffle, economy is not working, we have a junk status, parastatals are in a mess, 12 to 16 DGs removed with no continuity – it is unacceptable," he said.

Once you lose power 'you won't regain it'

The NEC must be sensible, put the interest of the country first and resolve that there needs to be a change, he said.

Zikalala has warned that the ANC risks losing power in the 2019 elections, as South Africans are "losing confidence [in] the party".

"We didn't fight to lose power after 25 years, once you lose it you won't regain it," he said.

The veterans' league also wants the number of members on NEC to be reduced significantly, to 40. They argued that the currently more than 100 members, including provincial chairpersons and secretaries, hampered productivity.

The league also pointed out that those elected to the NEC needed to focus on ANC work, Zikalala said.

One of the league's resolutions is an amendment of the party's electoral system to give each member a vote in the election of national leadership.

Currently, branches nominate candidates to represent them at the elective conference, the next one is due to be held in December in Johannesburg.

They also want members of Parliament to be accountable to an ANC constituency.

POLOTIKI: This week on Polotiki, it's all about President Jacob Zuma giving the ANC the proverbial middle finger. Listen:

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