Maharaj, Block and others decline ANC NEC nominations

Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj. (Oupa Nkosi, M&G)

Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj. (Oupa Nkosi, M&G)

On Tuesday, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe refused to be part of the ANC's highest decision-making body, and more big names followed suit.

President Jacob Zuma's government spokesperson Mac Maharaj, ANC Northern Cape chairperson John Block and trade union movement stalwart Jay Naidoo also declined nomination. National Planning Commission Minister Trevor Manuel had already expressed his wish to turn the nomination down.

Delegates at the Mangaung conference nominated 295 candidates for 80 NEC seats.

Motlanthe delivered an emotional farewell to delegates and thanked the party for giving him the opportunity to serve after suffering a humiliating defeat for the ANC's top position by Zuma on Tuesday.

While Zuma's supporters criticised Motlanthe for standing against Zuma, he believed that his decision was necessary in order to strengthen internal democracy in the ANC.

He wished the newly elected leaders well to carry out the mandate of the ANC to improve the lives of the poor and unite all South Africans.

"I wish you strength and wisdom in uniting the ANC and its leagues, the alliance and most important of all, all South Africans. One thing alone needs to be said, the ANC is the epitome of democracy and so we must continue to champion democracy in our country and the world over.
We must continue to sharpen our ability to hear the cries of our people … attending to the economic challenges of unemployment, inequality and poverty, utilising the mandate given to us by our people. Our leaders were elected by the entire membership of the ANC. And so, as we continue with our deliberations in the commissions, keep that in mind, doing this work under the watch and guidance of the very capable leadership we have elected," Motlanthe said.

Former national police commissioner Bheki Cele stands a chance of reviving his political career if successfully elected. Others who made it to the list include Minister of Monitoring and Evaluation Collins Chabane, Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula – who lost to Gwede Mantashe for the secretary general position, African Union commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, former director general in the presidency Frank Chikane, Public Enterprise Minister Malusi Gigaba, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom, and Minister of Agriculture Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

Also nominated are some leaders who lost out in the race for the top six positions, such as former treasurer general Mathews Phosa, former deputy secretary general Thandi Modise and Gauteng ANC chairperson Paul Mashatile.

Congress of South African Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa's general secretary Irvin Jim, and National Union of Mineworkers general secretary Frans Baleni did not accept nomination.

Free State ANC chairperson Ace Magashule also declined.

Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, former ANC Youth League treasurer Pule Mabe and Young Communist League secretary Buti Manamela's names received the loudest cheers as their names were read out by the party's electoral commission.

Former Gauteng local government minister Humprey Mmemezi, who was fired for misusing a state-issued credit card, also got cheers.

National Youth Development Agency chairperson Andile Lungisa and Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale were booed by delegates when their names were announced.

Voting at the conference to elect the NEC members is due to take place on Tuesday night. – Additional reporting by Sapa, Newsfire

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