ANC will be centre of power – Mbalula

2017-12-20 19:05
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula (File, AFP)

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula (File, AFP)

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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.

Read more on:    anc  |  politics  |  anc votes  |  anc leadership race

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