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Carl Niehaus nominated for NEC leadership role by Limpopo branch to help a ‘dying’ ANC

Carl Niehaus nominated for NEC leadership role by Limpopo branch to help a ‘dying’ ANC
Carl Niehaus outside in the Bloemfontein Magistrates' Court in June 2022. (Photo: Gallo Images / Volksblad / Mlungisi Louw)

As the leadership race heats up, the latest name touted to be a part of the ANC’s National Executive Committee is that of former president Jacob Zuma’s ally, Carl Niehaus.

The former Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) spokesperson Carl Niehaus was nominated by the Sumbandila branch in the Vhembe district to be a part of the 80-member ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC). The branch held a meeting on Sunday where they discussed candidates to lead the party. 

Branch chairperson Fistos Mafela told Daily Maverick that Niehaus has the requisite experience and credentials to be a part of the ANC’s highest decision-making body between conferences. 

Read in Daily Maverick: “Are July insurrection suspects scapegoats for high-profile political figures?

“Comrade Carl was part of the fight for freedom, he was part of Umkhonto weSizwe in the apartheid era, so the branch had a discusion about him and they agreed that we support him to be a part of the National Executive Committee,” he said. 

“There are many people who speak about Carl Niehaus but they do not know him. As a white person he took a critical decision to support the ANC. He was the spokesperson for [former president Nelson] Mandela.

“So, if you can check now, the ANC is highly divided, it cannot even pay its workers. We believe that there are people who will assist this movement to  be alive again. It seems as if the ANC is dying and we need people like Carl Niehaus who will come and assist this movement. He joined the movement when some of our grandmothers did not even want to mention the name ANC.” 

Mired in controversy

Niehaus has been at the centre of controversy, having been one of the leaders of the Radical Economic Transformation faction of the ANC which has relentlessly backed Zuma and suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule. 

Niehaus was fired in 2021 from his job in the secretary-general’s office after the ANC accused him of making false statements and purporting to speak for the disgruntled party staff members who had not been paid. The matter over his suspension is now in the Labour Court.

His ANC membership was suspended in July 2021 due to “inflammatory” statements he made while in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal, to support Zuma before his arrest. At the time he made it clear that no authority would arrest the former president and made reference to supporters creating a “human shield”.

He was among the thousands of supporters guarding Zuma’s Nkandla homestead. He warned that there would be instability and unrest in the country if the former president had to serve his 15-month jail sentence for contempt of court.

The suspension was later lifted because Niehaus was not formally charged.

Read in Daily Maverick: “Soldier of Misfortune: Carl Niehaus against the world 

Mafela added that they would not be nominating Cyril Ramaphosa for a second term and would be open to endorsing any other candidate including Magashule.

This is despite the ANC’s electoral committee, led by Kgalema Motlhathe, announcing the official rules of engagement for the party’s national conference, which state that those who have been temporarily suspended pending the outcome of a court case or disciplinary hearing will be prohibited from participating in any contestation.

Magashule was suspended as secretary-general in May 2021 after being charged with corruption, fraud and money laundering in connection with the R255-million Free State asbestos scandal. 

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“We are saying that our branch delegates must lobby to elect a leader who is going to implement the resolutions of the ANC, except Cyril Ramaphosa because the NEC led by Ramaphosa did not implement any resolutions besides step-aside. There are about five candidates – NEC members Lindiwe Sisulu, Zweli Mkhize, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and party deputy president David Mabuza,” Mafela said.

He added that the step-aside guidelines have to be scrapped because they have been manipulated to suit some members of the party. 

“The ANC constitution is very much clear because it says any member can contest any position. It does not even say that if you are charged you must not be nominated and elected. When we were in Nasrec we did not say those who were charged must step aside, we said those who are also accused must step aside. There are many people who are accused, including our President. According to the original rule, the president was supposed to set aside.

“The NEC used that step-aside to fight those political battles. So, we are not agreeing with the NEC at the conference, we need to make sure that step-aside must be scrapped or changed. Even when you look at the policy conference we agree as a branch that we must change the resolution. The policy conference does not take a decision, it can recommend it to the national conference.

Read in Daily Maverick: “Suspended ANC members Carl Niehaus and Andile Lungisa on WhatsApp group for planning riots and looting  

During the ANC’s 110th anniversary, the Sumbandila branch caused a stir by inviting Magashule for a parallel programme, an initiative to help orphans and young people in Musina. However, it was cancelled after the party distanced itself from the event.

The ANC national conference will take place between 16 and 20 December when new leadership will be elected. Branch nominations for the top six as well as members of the NEC are under way. Nominations close on 25 October.

The nomination period was set to end on Sunday, October, but the ANC had to extend the process by more than three weeks owing to ongoing rolling blackouts, industrial action by its own staff, and flawed internal systems. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

    Now that “Mpangazitha” has been nominated by a Limpopo branch in Vhembe that says Cyril must not be nominated, it confirms what one was saying that the PEC nominations are meaningless this year. Only KZN PEC pronouncements that have been made after branches made their nominations. In Gauteng, branches are struggling to quorate whilst Lesufi is saying something else! Yet you do not ask him where does he get what he says as a nomination. The forthcoming ANC Conference outcomes are the most difficult to predict because of the level of divisions in Provinces. The step – aside will be the first casualty and the integrity commission is going to receive a roasting. The letter to Motlanthe by KZN is a harbinger of things to come. The Chiawelo branch that nominated a person I like very much, Mdumiseni Ntuli has poisoned his name.
    One hopes that he finds his way to the leadership of the ANC and would be one of the best SGs the ANC has ever produced. But his name with Cyril would be a poisoned chalice at the ANC Conference. Dintswalo uyaphapha in Zulu.

    • Garth Kruger says:

      You can have him Cunnigham and good luck. You are going to need it.

      Ons kry skaam vir hom in Afrikaans.

      • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

        Who wants Carl Niehaus? Pointing to a fact of his nomination does not mean wants him. If it was according to me I would have had him behind bars for the July unrest let alone other misdemeanours he commits as a matter of regularity. He will become a member of the NEC whether you like it or not. The only funny thing about this branch it is the nomination of the top six not NEC but they choose to nominate him as NEC. The numbers of KZN with more than 25 percent of votes would make him unfortunately an NEC member. This excludes votes from Free State and Northwest as well as Eastern Cape. It is not a joke.

  • Hermann Funk says:

    I love it. Carl’s membership of the NEC will accelerate the demise of this useless party.

  • Dennis Bailey says:

    Can appalling get worse?

  • Carsten Rasch says:

    Ladeees & gennelmen… we have at long last reached the bottom of the barrel with the nomination of comrade Carl ‘Pepstores’ Niehaus. Congrats!

  • Johan Buys says:

    Did his mother nominate him – in her will?

  • Chris 123 says:

    That’s how bad the ANC has become when they think this man can save them 🤣

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    A pathological liar, fraudster and an absolute moron gets nominated for the NEC!! What next? Donald Duck for president? How wayward and plainly idiotic some of our people are – beyond reason and no hope of salvation!

    • John Smythe says:

      Well, the US elected Trump.

      • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

        These questions you are raising are very important and not insignificant. We asked ourselves similar questions when an over 200 year democracy could elect Donald Trump. Even here at home, how do people in the Eastern Cape return the ANC to power given the long list of sleaze and all sorts of corruption. How does COSATU help bring Zuma into power and when corruption is revealed say they are opposed to corruption. The US convened a conference in December last year to look at these developments with representatives from various countries. You then have some ANC people saying Defend Democracy and the same time say support the ANC! We are living in the age of conspiracy theories helped by the social media irresponsibility. We have very superficial education on the meaning of democracy and what values underpin a true democracy. That Trump is going to stand in 2024 is not a joke despite his vandalism of US democracy. Ramaphosa is allowed to lie and give excuses because certain sections of the media have determined that he is a better devil. We have people meeting to “save” the country but in actual effect to save the ANC. A Conference on Democracy without theatrics is what is needed that will be able to define its essential features and non – negotiable values is the route to go for me at this juncture. That conference must take stock of everything in the last 28 years and there must be no holy cows.

  • Steven Burnett says:

    the best part of this article is that it quotes the Rebecca Davis article. Carl’s last train left the station years ago.

    • allan j whitehead says:

      Enemy of the People of the Republic Of South Africa, thief, swindler, liar and a boy who steals valour.
      Just looking at the photo of this idiot, one can see the contempt in his face for all that is around him, will he get the job ?
      If so, hide the cheque book, watch the tenders, count the cash and put him on a chain to keep him away from pickpocketing his comrades and we the people…

      • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

        Name calling is what racists and thugs do but true patriots roll up their sleaves and work for a better country in different ways. They get into groups to discuss and get other views and look at solutions other people are putting on the table. Others go to poor areas and help them to help themselves and remove the notion that they are helpless and can do nothing about their own situation and that of the country. These people are helping the country and the ANC has not suddenly lost support but it is efforts of many people whose work is not recognised but has impact. I suggest you get over moaning and do something positive.

  • David Mark says:

    “Lindiwe Sisulu, Zweli Mkhize, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and party deputy president David Mabuza,” Mafela said.”

    Well now, doesn’t that list just say it all…

  • Malcolm McManus says:

    Wow, I am not usually surprised by anything daft the ANC usually does, but I definiteley never saw this one coming. A bottom feeder nominated for top of the food chain. If he suceeds he may be able to pay some of his bills without having to steal from old ladies and survive on handouts from dubious donators.

  • Hilary Morris says:

    Naivete or stupidity? Doesn’t really matter which -the outcome would be the same. Not only the demise of the ANC but probably the country along with it. Will we ever emerge from this shambles?

  • Dou Pienaar says:

    This reminds me of the saying ‘when a clown goes to the palace, he does not become king, the palace becomes a Circus’ Then again the ANC Circus is on full display.

  • Jacques Wessels says:

    This nomination give me real hope that South Africa is seeing the back of the ANC. Thanks to the looting Vembe comrades!

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