ANC national working committee to decide Derek Hanekom's fate

Derek Hanekom. (Jaco Marais)
Derek Hanekom. (Jaco Marais)

ANC national executive committee (NEC) member Derek Hanekom is likely to face a disciplinary hearing after he admitted meeting the EFF shortly before a motion of no confidence vote in former president Jacob Zuma two years ago. 

Two NEC sources said the matter became a bone of contention at the NEC meeting over the weekend as many called for Hanekom's head.

After a long debate on whether any steps should be taken against him, the NEC resolved to allow the party's top six leaders to take charge of the matter, one NEC source told News24.

"The top six came back with a decision that Hanekom should be referred to the national working committee (NWC) for it to make a determination on a disciplinary hearing."

READ: Tried and tested comrades under attack – ANC Veterans League stands by Hanekom

The member said the top six referred the matter to the NWC after the senior leaders failed to agree on whether Hanekom had contravened the party's constitution.

Hanekom dominated headlines last week after EFF leader Julius Malema revealed that the former tourism minister had handed over a list of ANC parliamentarians who would vote against Zuma in the vote of no confidence.

Malema also told his supporters that Hanekom was prepared to form a splinter party if President Cyril Ramaphosa did not defeat Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma at the party's 2017 national elective conference.

Last Wednesday, Hanekom admitted meeting EFF secretary general Godrich Gardee. He said he met with the EFF because of common interests during a "difficult time in South Africa's history".

He also said "there is no way" he could have refused to have a meeting of that nature with fellow parliamentarians.

After Hanekom's admission, Zuma tweeted that his former Cabinet minister was a "known enemy agent".

READ: Derek Hanekom a 'known enemy agent' - Jacob Zuma

"It became a heated argument on what should be done. We could not agree if this matter constituted a breach in ethics of the ANC. Hanekom will have to face discipline because he admitted to the media that he had colluded with the EFF. He might face suspension," the high-ranking official told News24. 

The insider said NEC member Mosebenzi Zwane spoke out against Hanekom during the NEC meeting, calling for his immediate suspension. Zwane, a Zuma ally, took Hanekom to task, questioning his loyalty to the ANC, the source added. 

Another party insider said secretary general (SG) Ace Magashule stood his ground as party members questioned why he released a hard-hitting statement in the name of the ANC prematurely late last Wednesday. 

In the statement, just hours after Hanekom spoke to the media last week, Hanekom was accused of being a "charlatan", "wedge driver" and EFF "sleeper".

READ | Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the true 'charlatan' of them all? Hanekom praised, while Magashule is slammed

According to the party insider, members of the ANC's top six, which Magashule is a part of, were irritated by Magashule's hasty statement. The NEC member said while Magashule was pressured to apologise for the statement he made in the ANC's name, he told the NEC he stood by the statement's content.

"Comrade Ace sent out a statement as the SG of the ANC not [in] his personal capacity and that was questioned. He made these grand allegations against Hanekom and it was premature. He surprised me by standing his ground under pressure. There was pressure for him to admit that it was a mistake to send the statement and he said he stood by his word. He is making life very difficult.

"He never gave Hanekom a chance to explain. He argued that Hanekom admitted to the media that he colluded with the EFF."

ALSO READ: ANC NEC face-off over issues dividing party along factional lines

On Saturday, members of the party's veterans league wrote an open letter to the top six and NEC, calling on them to protect the party's tried and tested comrades.

The letter, signed by long-serving members Cheryl Carolus, Sheila Sisulu, Ilse Fischer, Murphy Morobe, Fazel Randera, Aslam Dasoo and Mavuso Msimang, stated that Hanekom, [Public Enterprises Minister] Pravin Gordhan and Siphiwe Nyanda had been singled out and attacked. 

"The ANC is not a club, nor is it a cult to be manipulated. Those implicated, to whom we direct this message, should be in no doubt that any attack on comrades who have stood up against corruption and state capture is also an attack on other tried and tested veterans of the ANC. The NEC is called upon to defend these comrades at this time of peril for the ANC," the statement read. 

The NEC is expected to conclude its ordinary meeting on Monday afternoon and the party is expected to brief the media on Tuesday at Luthuli House.

The two party insiders said Magashule was unlikely retract his statement.

MUST READ: 'I am not worried about being criticised' - Magashule on critics, the media and ANC members who do not trust him

While it's standard practice for the secretary general to address the media following an NEC meeting, Magashule's recent actions could see another official speaking about the outcomes of this weekend's gathering.

Following a previous meeting of the NEC, Magashule sparked widespread panic and debate when he claimed the NEC resolved that the South African Reserve Bank's mandate should be expanded.

The Sunday Times later reported that Magashule may have edited the NEC's statement before briefing the media.

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