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21 May 2009 21:52
The African National Congress (ANC) has decided not to allow the Democratic Alliance (DA) to chair any of Parliament’s portfolio committees as punishment for party leader Helen Zille insulting President Jacob Zuma.
“It is a question of relations being serviced. There must be mutual respect between the parties,” said ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe, as he announced the party nominations for the positions.
“They have taken a position that is hostile.
You first manage the hostility then you build a relationship.”
He accused Zille of showing “a total disrespect to the office of the president of the republic” and added: “We must have very thin skins to that.
The comments follow a row that broke out between the ruling party and the opposition leader after she appointed only men to her executive team in the Western Cape.
It degenerated when Zille retorted that Zuma was a self-confessed womaniser who by his own admission, in his rape trial in 2007, had sex with an HIV-positive woman without using a condom, thereby exposing his wives to the virus.
Mantashe was forced to distance the ANC from defamatory remarks its youth league subsequently made about Zille, but on Thursday brushed off questions about disciplining its ally.
“I think the focus is in the wrong area. We must reflect on the real issue of the behaviour of the ANC in the Western Cape.”
“Racism is not just prejudice, it is also stereotyping that is most dangerous as that is subconscious in the mind.”
Mantashe said the Congress of the People (Cope), the third biggest party in Parliament with 30 seats in the National Assembly, was not given an opportunity to name one of the party chairs either, “because it is a new animal”.
“We must develop a relationship with that animal. We don’t know it yet. It is not about dishing out chairs, it is about work.”
The ANC has decided to retain Themba Godi from the African People’s Convention as chairperson of Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) because “he did well”, Mantashe said.
The Inkatha Freedom Party was allowed to name Duma Ndeleni as one of the three National Assembly whips.
The ANC nominated veteran MP Joan Fubbs as chairperson of the trade and industry committee, former Limpopo finance minister Thaba Mufamadi as chairperson of the finance committee, and Busi Coleman as chairperson of the new economic development committee.
It is one of handful of new committees that will be established after Zuma increased the Cabinet portfolios from 28 to 34.
The communications committee will be headed by Ismail Vladi, the transport committee by Ruth Bhengu, the state security committee by Cecil Burgess and the international relations committee—formerly foreign affairs—by trade unionist Thulas Nxesi.
Former water affairs minister Lindiwe Hendricks was named the chairperson of the public enterprises committee and the ANC’s former chief whip Mnyamezeli Booi was named chairperson of the defence committee.
The outspoken chairperson of the sports committee, Butana Khompela, has been retained in the post.—Sapa
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