Carl Niehaus denies existence of his RET grouping after Ramaphosa supporters sound alarm

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Carl Niehaus outside the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court in support of ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule.
Carl Niehaus outside the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court in support of ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule.
PHOTO: Kayleen Morgan/News24
  • MKMVA spokesperson Carl Niehaus has denied that the Radical Economic Transformation grouping exists.
  • Niehaus has been organising press conferences for the grouping, which he says will be having regular meetings and structures in all nine provinces.
  • Some ANC leaders have warned that Niehaus was starting a new party in the ANC's headquarters.

The leading figure in the "Radical Economic Transformation" (RET) faction of the ANC, Carl Niehaus, has denied the existence of the grouping.

"I'm not a spokesperson for the RET grouping. There is no RET grouping in the African National Congress," he told Newzroom Afrika anchor Xoli Mngambi on Wednesday.

He said:

There is simply members of the ANC that support the official economic policy programme of the ANC, which is radical economic transformation. So let's not try to create an impression of factionalism when there is no factionalism.

Niehaus, who is also the spokesperson of the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans' Association (MKMVA), said this following claims by other ANC leaders that he was setting up a splinter party in ANC general-secretary Ace Magashule's office, where he works, under the guise of the RET national operations committee.

At a press conference of the grouping on 11 March at the Booysens Hotel in Johannesburg after its "first strategic coordination meeting", Niehaus revealed in a statement that the "RET Gauteng" grouping, which appears to have been set up at the beginning of last year, had gone national, with biweekly meetings and "support structures in all nine provinces".

In the statement, he said:

A fast growing number of ANC members throughout the length and breadth of our country are increasingly feeling the urgent need to mobilise for the speedy and full implementation of RET, which is the ANC's official economic policy programme. As a consequence, RET support groups have been established throughout South Africa.

"The increasingly fast growing numbers of ANC members who associate themselves with these RET support groups, and the resultant intensification of activities, have necessitated greater cooperation in order to ensure more effective mobilisation and action."

This led to the establishment of the national coordination committee, he said.

Niehaus' statement also included a picture of a clenched yellow fist at the top, against a green background and with black shading – the colours of the ANC.

READ | Is Carl Niehaus establishing a parallel ANC at Luthuli House?

He also recently released a discussion document that he said was released in his capacity as a member of the ANC "engaging in the discussion about what the economic policy programme of the African National Congress is and should be".

Niehaus has also denied that he was trying to be "factional", instead saying he was merely engaging in ANC policy discussions.

READ MORE | ANC leader warns of 'new party' being hatched in Ace Magashule's office

At least two ANC leaders who are members of the party's national executive committee – Joel Netshitenzhe and ANC Eastern Cape secretary Lulama Ngcukayitobi – have warned that Niehaus was busy establishing a new party from within Magashule's office, where he is working.

The RET grouping has been supporting Magashule, as well as former president Jacob Zuma in his battle not to appear before the state capture inquiry.

They are also critical of President Cyril Ramaphosa's leadership, accusing him of not implementing resolutions of the ANC's 2017 national conference at Nasrec.

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