Ramaphosa gets his grip on new ANC working committee

2018-01-21 05:46
Members and supporters, draped in ANC colours, gather to celebrate the 106th anniversary at Buffalo Stadium in East London. Here they are seen cutting the cake. Picture: Leon Sadiki

Members and supporters, draped in ANC colours, gather to celebrate the 106th anniversary at Buffalo Stadium in East London. Here they are seen cutting the cake. Picture: Leon Sadiki

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ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa tightened his grip on running Luthuli House at the weekend when his backers dominated the newly constituted ANC national working committee (NWC).

Voting for the influential 20-member committee, in charge of the day-to-day running of the governing party, took place at a tense national executive committee (NEC) meeting at the weekend in Saint George’s Hotel in Tshwane, during which President Jacob Zuma’s future was also discussed.

At Nasrec’s ANC national elective conference last month at least 13 of the NEC members elected to the new body backed Ramaphosa ahead of his expected bruising clash with Zuma’s preferred successor Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

The remaining seven had backed Dlamini-Zuma, but the numbers could have changed drastically in favour of Ramaphosa since the conference and increasing evidence that Zuma’s influence is diminishing.

The overall composition of the NEC and NWC included representatives from the two main lobby groups.

This is in contrast to the post-2012 conference era when Zuma’s backers made a clean sweep and shoved aside many of his opponents – which hastened the formation of splinter party the Economic Freedom Fighters.

The new working committee also reflected a 50-50 gender parity, coming on the back of complaints that the top six officials was male dominated.

Ramaphosa and his top six, as well as leaders of the ANC’s leagues – Women’s League Bathabile Dlamini, Youth League Collen Maine and Veterans’ League Snuki Zikalala – also form part of the working committee.

Maine and Dlamini backed Dlamini-Zuma’s campaigners but Ramaphosa retains the edge of the NWC since four of the top six officials are expected to rally behind him.

Spreading his influence in the working committee was crucial for Ramaphosa since the NEC was evenly balanced – pointing to a future of perpetual stalemates and paralysis in the party’s highest decision-making body between conferences.

The working committee prepares the agenda for every NEC meeting and produces regular reports on key matters affecting the ANC.

Towards the end days of Zuma’s terms it was members of the working committee who blocked attacks on him and squashed a proposal by a group of ANC veterans and stalwarts to hold a national consultative conference with a view to deciding Zuma’s fate.

A Zuma sympathiser blamed the outcome of the working committee elections on the fact that “some of the provinces supporting Zuma, such as Free State and KwaZulu-Natal, had been dissolved and that gave the Ramaphosa bloc a majority”.

However, the insider said the committee had been staffed with mature and competent people who are sober.

Those who attended the meeting told City Press that both Dlamini-Zuma and Ramaphosa’s former running mate for deputy president Lindiwe Sisulu, also human settlements minister, garnered an equal number of votes (65) when the four votes of leaders from the two dissolved provincial executives were counted.

Ramaphosa backers in the new structure include Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, former tourism minister Derek Hanekom, National Assembly chairperson Thoko Didiza, former ANC Youth League deputy president Ronald Lamola, former fisheries and forestry minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, former KwaZulu-Natal premier Senzo Mchunu, former ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Nomaindia Mfeketo, Gauteng finance MEC Barbara Creecy and chairperson of the National Council of Provinces Thandi Modise.

Those who backed Dlamini-Zuma were Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, Water Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa, outgoing North West ANC secretary Dakota Legoete, former MP Tony Yengeni and Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini.

Those who did not make it back on to the committee were Small Business Minister Lindiwe Zulu, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, Minister of Women Susan Shabangu, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Energy Minister David Mahlobo and Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi.

SA Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande and Sisi Ntombela, who were on the previous working committee, did not make the cut for the new executive committee.

Read more on:    anc  |  nkosazana dlamini-zuma  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  nwc

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