The ANC has resolved to increase its national executive committee (NEC) — the party’s highest decision-making body between conferences — from 60 to 86 members to ensure greater representation of the party’s motive forces.
The decision taken at the ANC policy conference on Tuesday came amid increasing concern from some members of the ANC and its alliance partners Cosatu and the SACP that the executive no longer represents the party’s core constituency — working people — and has become overloaded with business leaders and Cabinet ministers with no constituency.
ANC secretary general Kgalema Motlanthe said the expansion would ensure the effectiveness of the structure and meet the demands arising from various sectors of the country. “Most of the current members are in Cabinet and have other responsibilities outside the NEC.”
Meeting four or five times a year, the NEC assumes overall responsibility of providing political leadership to the movement.
In its organisational renewal report, the ANC said increasing the size of the NEC would ensure that there were more members to meet the demands arising from provincial and sectoral deployment; ensure an appropriate gender balance and generational mix; and ensure that the NEC represents a broad spectrum of the motive forces and has members from different centres of power.
The ANC document also proposed the introduction of a quota system to ensure greater representation of Cosatu and the SACP, women, state officials, youth and the ANC at provincial and regional levels.
Cosatu has drawn up its own list of candidates for the ANC NEC at the conference, which it says would represent the interest of workers.
Last year NEC members Joel Netshitenze, Enoch Godongwana and Gauteng legislature chief whip Mandla Nkomfe wrote that it “would be a travesty of its own express orientation if the ANC’s national leadership does not include working class cadres … The NEC has evolved to consist of only the middle strata and business, a consequence of political incumbency and opening of opportunities in the private sector.”
Since 2002 at least seven NEC members have left active politics for the private sector, increasing the committee’s business complement to nearly 20%. The organised left has three representatives or 5% of total: SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande, SACP deputy secretary Jeremy Cronin and former treasurer Phillip Dexter. NEC members actively in business are Max Sisulu, Cyril Ramaphosa, Saki Macozoma, Penuell Maduna, Ngoako Ramatlhodi and Tony Yengeni.