/ 4 February 2008

Confusion over Rasool’s ‘visit’ to Luthuli House

The African National Congress (ANC) was not aware of any imminent visit to its Johannesburg headquarters by Western Cape Premier Ebrahim Rasool, a spokesperson said on Monday.

”I don’t know of any visit by the premier of the Western Cape to Luthuli House,” said Tiyani Rikhotso.

Rasool’s spokesperson Shado Twala also said she did know about the reported visit.

According to a South African Broadcasting Corporation news report on Sunday, Rasool had been ”summoned” to the ANC’s headquarters concerning ”soured relations” between the Western Cape’s provincial leaders and ANC members in the

provincial government.

ANC Western Cape chairperson James Ngculu said: ”There is no such meeting.”

Fear stalks party

This comes as the the Sunday Times reported that fear now stalks the corridors of ANC power as the party’s new president, Jacob Zuma, asserts his authority in Parliament, the provinces and the party structures.

”Top ANC leaders were told this week that many party members feared being axed from government positions because of their perceived loyalty to outgoing President Thabo Mbeki, who was ousted from the party leadership in December,” the newspaper said.

ANC MPs made their anxiety known to deputy party president Kgalema Motlanthe, deputy secretary general Thandi Modise and national chairperson Baleka Mbete in a closed lekgotla (meeting) of the ANC’s parliamentary caucus on Thursday.

”Modise assured caucus members that there was no need for ‘uncertainty’ and ‘insecurity’,” the paper wrote.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe told the newspaper on the sidelines of the party’s Eastern Cape lekgotla that there would not be a purge, but added: ”We cannot claim there is a moratorium on Cabinet reshuffles.”

At the Parliament meeting, Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka distributed the government’s programme-of-action document but later withdrew it from MPs, saying it was confidential. That sparked concern among MPs who felt that the government ”did not trust them”.

MPs were left with Motlanthe’s 45-page document outlining the ANC’s priorities for the year, the newspaper reported.

At the parliamentary lekgotla, Zuma told MPs not to perpetuate the perception that the ANC was all about people securing positions for themselves. ”An MP said Zuma had told the caucus lekgotla that he was ‘personally bothered’ by the whispering campaigns.” – Sapa