Zuma cracks the whip

2017-01-29 06:01
President Jacob Zuma.

President Jacob Zuma.

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Cape Town - Ministers and government officials defying the ANC and failing to implement party policies came under fire at the ANC national executive committee (NEC) lekgotla last weekend. This came amid the party’s attempts to fathom why it has been unable to speed up economic transformation.

The intense discussion on the ANC’s “good policies” being undermined by deployees saw the party’s economic transformation subcommittee called in by the ANC top six – headed by President Jacob Zuma – to explain why there was no implementation of the party’s radical economic transformation programme.

City Press has learnt that Zuma went to pains to raise the issue. He instructed those attending the meeting to discuss the matter in commission meetings and “come back with solutions and a clear list of recommendations that define this radical economic transformation that we are talking about”.

A senior party leader attending the meeting said that Zuma was not only directing his comments about people defying the ANC specifically to ministers, but also to other government officials, because “officials do their own things to sabotage the ANC.

“So, there is a problem and we cannot do business as usual [when the] ANC has decided on something [and] people then defy the organisation. And when they get into government, they implement their own things. So, it cannot be business as usual.”

Issue of land

Another NEC member said the entire lekgotla – and not just Zuma – was clear that going forward “people who are underperforming must be fired.

“People [who] do not implement their mandate must all go – not just ministers,” he said.

“The commission for economic transformation resolved that if people did not perform in terms of – in that case – economic transformation, they should be removed. That even applies to directors-general.”

Zuma also lamented that government policies, such as the procurement policy, “disadvantage our people. And so, it would be impossible to transform the economy radically if we made policies that disadvantage our people.”

City Press has learnt that ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe raised the issue of land, saying that the ANC had been talking about it for too long.

He warned that ANC opponents might appropriate their policies and “be populist” about them because government was not implementing them.

Mantashe, according to the source, said the ANC should rather implement “decisions that we agreed on as a conference and organisation, instead of being populist” and that the ratings agencies should “rate us according to our programme, not their programme”.

The party should implement its policies rather than be paralysed by fear of ratings agencies.

Firing ministers

Those concerned that Zuma’s speech was a precursor to an anticipated Cabinet reshuffle have been dismissed as “people who are afraid of reshuffling who make up stories because they want to hold the president to ransom so that he does not take the decision”.

It was earlier reported that Zuma was considering firing ministers who backed calls for him to step down last year and defied his instructions.

Meanwhile, a North West MEC said that “if Zuma is going to wield the axe, those who support him should also be brought to book”.

“If the message is not meant for those who support him, then the principle is already lost,” he said.

He cited as an example North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo’s focus on agriculture, culture and tourism when the national priorities have been determined as education, health and rural development. – Additional reporting by S’thembile Cele


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Read more on:    anc  |  jacob zuma  |  gwede mantashe  |  cape town

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