Inside the NEC

KZN clearly the ANC’s new stronghold

To the victors go the spoils.

At least, that’s how it appears when you study the ANC’s new national executive committee (NEC) list.

The NEC features at least 30 people who have either defended President Jacob Zuma publicly, lobbied for his re-election or are known to be his allies.

Pule Mabe, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, Kebby Maphatsoe, Zizi Kodwa, S’dumo Dlamini, Malusi Gigaba and Jackson Mthembu have all come to Zuma’s defence at some stage.

Allies from Limpopo like Dikeledi Magadzi and Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba, who were allegedly purged from the provincial government for backing Zuma, made the cut.

Voting for the party’s top structure between conferences has clearly crystallised around slates, as the booting out of leaders such as Tokyo Sexwale, Mathews Phosa and Fikile Mbalula indicates.

The change in power dynamic is also reflected in the fact that a leader like Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who got the most votes in the poll for the 80 additional NEC members in 2007, almost did not make

it this time around.

She scraped through at number 79, despite her high profile.

It is ironic that proponents of change became the victims of what they had advocated – they were changed by branches.

The core

At least 12 leaders have remained in the committee since 1997.

These include Pallo Jordan, Enoch Godongwana, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Madikizela-Mandela, Collins Chabane, Max Sisulu, Joel Netshitenzhe, Ngoako Ramatlhodi, Jeff Radebe, Blade Nzimande and Zweli Mkhize.

Some argue that they embody the committee’s institutional memory. The Mangaung leadership therefore represents continuity and change.

A total of 47 have survived from the NEC elected in Polokwane in 2007, while 18 lost their positions and 15 others either resigned or passed away during the last term.

Cabinet-heavy

There are 28 people with links to Cabinet in the current NEC, serving as either ministers or deputy ministers.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele are the only new entrants though.

It is not surprising as it was a feature of the NEC even under former president Thabo Mbeki.

This might not go down well with ANC allies like Cosatu, which prefers an NEC that comprises people who don’t aspire to be in government. The union federation believes this is the only way the NEC can keep government in check and ensure that party policies are executed.

Labour

If it is any consolation for Cosatu, unionists also feature in the latest leadership.

Dlamini, Nxesi, Nehawu boss Fikile Majola, National Union of Mineworkers president Senzeni Zokwana and Free State Cosatu central committee member Sam Mashinini all made the list.

This is better than 2007 when Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya was the only current unionist.

This might fall short of Cosatu’s stated goal of swelling the ANC’s top structure, but it does increase the federation’s clout within the ANC.

It has also thwarted those who argued at Mangaung that NEC membership should be restricted to people who have been direct ANC members and leaders of its lower structures.

Provincial power shift

The centre has shifted towards KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and the slight increase in its representation reflects the growing significance of the province as the party’s new stronghold.

KZN is well represented with 14 members, but only three of them – Gordhan, Cwele and Dlamini – are new to the committee.

The dominance of KZN was to be expected because the province has replaced Eastern Cape as the party’s stronghold and took the largest delegation to Mangaung.

Limpopo has made a strong showing despite rebellion against Zuma among that province’s leadership.

This probably reflects political and tactical alliances among Zuma’s backers, since none of those elected to the NEC currently serve in the provincial executive.

Leaders from Limpopo include Chabane; Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi; former Health MEC Dikeledi Magadzi; International Affairs Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane; deputy ministers of correctional services, water and environmental affairs, and arts and culture, Ngoako Ramatlhodi, Rejoice Mabudafhasi and Joe Phaahla, respectively; former arts and culture MEC Joyce Mashamba; and former provincial treasurer Letsatsi-Duba.

The province’s complex politics and alliances probably explain why Limpopo chairperson Cassel Mathale

did not make the cut, despite standing for election.

Neither did his Gauteng counterpart, Paul Mashatile.

Mathale and Mashatile bucked the trend of provincial chairpersons like John Block, Phumulo Masualle and

Marius Fransman, who did not stand for direct election when they contested the NEC elections.

Party provincial chairpersons are automatically co-opted on to the NEC as ex-officio members.

Generational mix

There is only a handful of younger leaders in the committee, which means the youth league’s call for a generational mix was largely fruitless.

The young guns include Kodwa, Mabe and Gigaba.

The voice of the youth will be supplemented by ex-officio members like KwaZulu-Natal secretary Sihle Zikalala and Eastern Cape secretary Oscar Mabuyane, and two youth league representatives.

Gender and race

Half the members of the committee are women, if we exclude the top six.

This is in line with the party’s avowed principle of gender parity, which prescribes equal representation.

As far as race is concerned, only 8% of the 86 members are either white, coloured or Indian.

They are Ebrahim Ebrahim, Joemat-Pettersson, Jessie Duarte, Derek Hanekom, Sue van der Merwe, Lynne Brown, Rob Davis and Gordhan. It is a decline from 10 in 2007.

This reflects the party’s support and membership base, which is overwhelmingly black African.

Gender and race

Half the members of the committee are women, if we exclude the top six.

This is in line with the party’s avowed principle of gender parity, which prescribes equal representation.

As far as race is concerned, only 8% of the 86 members are either white, coloured or Indian.

They are Ebrahim Ebrahim, Joemat-Pettersson, Jessie Duarte, Derek Hanekom, Sue van der Merwe, Lynne Brown, Rob Davis and Gordhan. It is a decline from 10 in 2007. This reflects the party’s support and membership base, which is overwhelmingly black African.

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