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Motshekga axed as ANC chief whip

According to two ANC MPs, the party's secretary general, Gwede Mantashe, took a minute to inform the ANC caucus about Motshekga's removal from his position on Thursday morning.

"There was no drama, no arguments," said an MP. The SG simply said: 'Look at this announcement. There is no engagement about it. I'm here to tell you what we've resolved. This is it, according to policy. It's long overdue.'"

The MPs claimed that Motshekga was seated next to Mantashe when he made the announcement.

The party said Motshekga's removal was merely the implementation of a national executive committee (NEC) resolution that the chief whip position should be held by an NEC member.

"We take it as correct to have the chief whip sitting on the NEC and be part of the decision-making structures so that the work that is happening in the party does talk to the work in Parliament and when there are problems in Parliament, they find their way easily into the ANC NEC. We are improving our communication at that level," Mantashe told journalists on Thursday.

The ANC appointed Stone Sizani, the chairperson of parliament's portfolio committee on rural development, as the new chief whip.

ANC MPs and staff have over the years complained about Motshekga's management style, with some claiming he did not prioritise his job in Parliament.

Some claimed he didn't quite understand the workings of Parliament and his role there. Motshekga was deployed to Parliament in 2009 and made chief whip at the same time.

The Democratic Alliance has also been a thorn in Motshekga's side, consistently complaining that he does not understand his role in Parliament.

Concern was raised at the end of last year about his management of the ANC caucus in Parliament, his allegedly sour relationship with his former deputy, Bulelani Magwanishe, and the fact that the political committee ended up being bogged down with "purely administrative (issues)… instead of (providing) broader strategic supervision and political guidance in Parliament".

Motshekga denied these allegations at the time.

The ANC praised him for excellent service this week. "Motshekga, who is the longest serving chief whip to date, inherited a caucus that was in financial problems and has turned things around," said the ANC statement.

Motshekga joins a long list of ANC chief whips who did not complete their terms of office in Parliament.

The MPs, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they were hopeful that Sizani's appointment would improve the operations of the caucus. They described Sizani as "astute, a real party man and competent".

Mantashe described Sizani as a seasoned cadre of the movement.

He is a former chairperson of the ANC in the Eastern Cape and was also previously an education MEC.

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