South Africa

ANALYSIS

ANC’s virtual NEC affirms support for Zondo commission, gives Ace Magashule (sort of) one month to step aside voluntarily

ANC’s virtual NEC affirms support for Zondo commission, gives Ace Magashule (sort of) one month to step aside voluntarily
ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule. (Photo: Gallo Images / Sharon Seretlo) | President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Photo: Waldo Swiegers / Bloomberg / Getty Images)

The ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting at the weekend was ‘difficult’, said President Cyril Ramaphosa. And while strong assertions were made in favour of the Zondo Commission and the rule of law, the party has resolved to rely on the honour of the likes of Ace Magashule in voluntarily stepping down.

In his closing address to the ANC’s virtual NEC meeting, President Cyril Ramaphosa dropped hints that conflict had marked the gathering. It was a “difficult but encouraging” meeting, he said.

At the end of his statement, he noted that the meeting had been constructive “even if we have had some tactical differences about executing our tasks”.

It was a good meeting – “in the main”.

The NEC meeting was never likely to be smooth sailing given the context against which it was taking place, with reports of a concerted operation brewing between former president Jacob Zuma, supporters of the Radical Economic Transformation movement and leaders of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

Both Zuma and former president Thabo Mbeki were present at the virtual meeting.

It also took place against the backdrop of increasingly explosive testimony at the Zondo Commission investigating State Capture, and an increasingly strong pushback against that inquiry – including from the ANC’s Deputy Secretary-General, Jessie Duarte, who subsequently apologised for her critique.

Zuma vs Zondo: ANC’s breaking point? The pressure is on

As has been typical of NEC gatherings over the past few years, Ramaphosa’s statement suggested that the balance of forces had come down in favour of those supporting the New Dawn mandate – but perhaps only just.

Announcing that he himself would be appearing before the Zondo Commission, the president reiterated the ANC’s support for the inquiry and added that the party “unreservedly urge[s] our members and all South Africans to cooperate with this commission”.

His statement came a day before Zuma must appear before the commission or face criminal charges.

“President [Ramaphosa] will lead the ANC presentation to the commission and will use this opportunity to unequivocally reaffirm the position of the ANC against corruption and state capture, and its impact on the people and country,” the statement read.

Strong as these statements might look on paper, many will take them as empty words, given that they were not accompanied by a similarly robust resolution regarding ANC leaders accused of wrongdoing.

This particular debate would have been extra fraught, given that ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule is due in court on Friday 19 February on charges of fraud and corruption.

On this matter, the NEC has decided that “affected members” (ie, ANC members accused of serious misdemeanours) must “act in the interests of protecting the reputation of the movement by acting” in line with the “revolutionary conscience of members and leaders”.

In other words, they should step aside voluntarily.

And if they don’t? The statement does not explore that possibility. It notes that the NEC also agreed that officials of the party’s Integrity Commission will “process” all commission reports “with a view to returning to the NEC with a full report within one month”.

The NEC meeting also had the Covid-19 pandemic to concern itself with – Ramaphosa noted that the government is talking to Russia about vaccines – and the upcoming local government elections.

Former ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe will be serving as the chair of the ANC’s Electoral Committee, a new body within the party that will consist of “eminent cadres” ensuring that “the best and most credible candidates” are put forward for all elections.

The demise of the ANC Youth League has also been on the party’s mind, doubtless with an eye on the upcoming polls, and its revitalisation is being engineered via the establishment of (another) task team.

On the note of election campaigning, Ramaphosa said that the ANC welcomed the promulgation of the Political Party Funding Act, which has been hailed as ushering in a new era of transparency in South African campaign financing.

“We do acknowledge that this will have a significant effect on our ability – and indeed that of other political parties – to raise funds,” stated the president.

“We will continue consultations with other parties in Parliament on how to manage these issues.” 

Indeed, concern over the new transparency required of political parties when it comes to donations has been one of the few issues in South African politics on which parties have been willing to reach across the aisle. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Con Tester says:

    Hope springs eternal, only to be thwarted by ANC let downs springing eternal.

  • Coen Gous says:

    Ja, well, no fine. What a powerful strong statement?! And on Friday 19 February at his next court appearance, he will no doubt again be surrounded by compromised ANC members to receive their support, with Carl Niehaus again trying to steal the the limelight with news media trying to get his baseless comments. And Magashule will again give an hour long speech telling the 1000-odd ANC supporters (attending because of free T-shirts and fish-and-chips food packets). that he is innocent of all charges, and that only branches can vote for him to stand down. That whilst being flanked by these compromised ANC members hoping to be interviewed, craving the opportunity to get some TV coverage and pictures.

  • Hermann Funk says:

    Magashule fraction 1 : Ramaphosa fraction O

  • Auke Van Der Meulen Van Der Meulen says:

    Ramaphosa noted that the government is talking to Russia about vaccines :
    That is exactly what the trough feeders want. Corruption coming !!!

  • Helen Lachenicht says:

    I trust the “Good Governance” faction in the ANC are very busy with their own campaign among their voters (i.r.o. DM article of Ace for next president – which felt like a knock out blow to my hopes). As for Ace and Zuma… the horrid saying about eating an elephant one bite at a time springs to mind.

  • Carol Green says:

    Hi Rebecca, just a clarification. Jessie didn’t apologise for her critique, she apologised to DCJ Zondo for showing disrespect to him personally. There is a big difference.

  • Patrick Millerd says:

    Another pathetic outcome. The ANC is a disaster for the country and it’s getting worse day by day with every backward step they take

  • Peter Worman says:

    It’s been said dozens of times before but I shall repeat that I will start believing in the morality and efficacy of the ANC once I see the likes of Zuma, Ace, Myeni as well as the legions of shady businessmen charged and imprisoned

  • Charles Parr says:

    I think we’ll find out over the next few weeks that Ramaphosa was Aced 10 – 0 at this meeting. If Ramaphosa does not have the leadership ability to convince an organisation that he leads that he has the best way forward for the country then he should not have the job. But then, the ANC has not for the last fifty years or so, been able or willing to do anything in the interests of the country as it’s an organisation where only own interests prevail.

  • Brian Blignaut says:

    The ANC will never force Ace or Zuma to step aside, they are far too worried what these two will say and who will be exposed should their backs be against the wall. I think it’s important to remember that Ramaphosa was there all the way through the state capture, do you really believe he didn’t know what was going on? I think he’s part of the whole cover up which is why he is so ineffective.

  • Ian Walters says:

    Ms Davis got it right when she describes the outcome of the NEC’s confrontation with Mr Magashule as being “Sort of ” resolved.
    “Sort of” describes the ANC. It’s a “Sort of” political organisation.

  • Angus Auchterlonie says:

    OK, first of all, none of the “accused” have any honour, otherwise they wouldn’t be in that position in the first place, and second of all if there are no consequences, what motivation do these miscreants have to do “the right thing” at all? Expecting the likes of Mashenuh, Mamadoek, Zum-Zum etc to ever admit they did something wrong, or that they acted in any way against the “people”, is to continue believing in the toothfairy, gold at the end of rainbows and a limp president’s promises!

  • Jacobus Cilliers Cilliers says:

    I wonder if Zuma was part of the discussions on the extent to which his behaviour serves to bring the ANC into disrepute and his defiance of a constitutional court ruling at the NEC? Natural justice, logic, would imply that he recuse himself for that discussion or that he be asked to recuse himself.

  • Hans van de Riet says:

    Hahahaha, they must be joking Magashule having honour. Their is NO HONOUR amongst thieves. There is none of this with the vast majority of ANC cadres. Most of them are the biggest cowards I’ve ever seen. The only honour they really have is having destroyed this beautiful country by their creed, lying and thieving, and all sorts of other criminal activities.

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