Chief whip may get the chop

Caiphus Kgosana

ANC Chief Whip Isaac Mogase could find himself a backbencher again, just five months after being appointed to the position.

The newly-elected ANC leadership is considering removing Mogase, the former mayor of Johannesburg now in his 70s, because it regards him as too “soft” and too “junior” in the party to occupy the powerful position of chief whip.

Mogase is to be replaced with someone who serves on the 80-member national executive committee (NEC).

Mogase was appointed following the sacking of Mbulelo Goniwe in 2006, who was accused of sexually harassing a 21-year-old parliamentary intern.

The issue of his removal is expected to crop up at the ANC NEC lekgotla that is taking place this weekend.

It is understood that the new leadership is considering replacing him with national working committee member and chairperson of the portfolio committee on minerals and energy Nathi Mthethwa.

But others say party president Jacob Zuma is in favour of redeploying Mthethwa to Luthuli House, where he would occupy the influential position of head of presidency, which has been vacated by Smuts Ngonyama.

An ANC source in Parliament said there were also strong calls for a woman to take over as chief whip for the first time. If this view is adopted, the most obvious choice would be SACP deputy chairperson and MP Ncumisa Kondlo.

Kondlo serves as one of the ANC whips and is on the public enterprises portfolio committee.

A senior ANC MP speaking on condition of anonymity said they were aware that there were impending changes and were waiting for the NEC to take the next step.

The MP said if any changes were to be made, he would not be surprised if a senior party member such as Mthethwa were to be made chief whip.

“He would be an obvious choice on the basis of political seniority,” he said.

ANC spokesperson in parliament Moloto Mothapo said the caucus did not wish to speculate about any possible changes as this was the sole terrain of the NEC.

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