/ 29 November 2016

ANC NEC: The outcomes we already know

The Constitutional Court will decide early this year whether to hear and rule on the bid by the EFF to force Zuma to pay back the money spent on nonsecurity upgrades at Nkandla.
The Constitutional Court will decide early this year whether to hear and rule on the bid by the EFF to force Zuma to pay back the money spent on nonsecurity upgrades at Nkandla.

The ANC will announce the outcomes of its three-day long national executive committee (NEC) meeting on Tuesday. It may be the most anticipated NEC briefing for the year, but there are outcomes we already know: Jacob Zuma is still the president and the movement has been even more divided.

President Zuma is on his way to Cuba to attend the funeral of former Cuban president Fidel Castro. Zuma will attend the funeral in his capacity as president after his detractors in the NEC failed to begin the process of his removal via a secret vote.

In almost every NEC briefing this year, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has said that an early conference to discuss the ANC’s successor is not possible because the focus of the party if to “unify the movement” and avoid division at all costs. But it’s too late – the ANC is divided, and this past weekend some of the members of the party’s upper echelon showed their cards.

Health minister Aaron Motsoeledi, science and technology minister Naledi Pandor, and public works minister Thulas Nxesi supported tourism minister Derek Hanekom as he put forward a motion that there should be a vote of no confidence in Zuma’s leadership.

Karima Brown, a journalist who broke the news that there would be a vote on Zuma’s fate as ANC president on her Facebook page, pointed out later over the weekend that the Zuma opposition lacked support. The president has a stronghold in the ANC NEC , and when the news came that the vote was being discussed, reports came in that his supporters who were not at the meeting were boarding planes to get there.

Now, the president has reportedly suggested to his party that he is the victim of a pursuit for his imprisonment.

“The president told us that he will never step down, as it would be like handing himself over to the enemy, and that there are people who want to see him in jail and they will never stop,” an NEC member told News24

There are 783 counts of fraud, corruption and racketeering on hold for Zuma, and the Mail & Guardian reported earlier that Zuma had been called before the ANC’s integrity commission for bringing the party into disrepute. The ANC has denied this, saying it instead will have a discussion with Zuma about the current state of affairs in the party.

Part of Zuma’s fight back may include a Cabinet re-shuffle to boot his detractors, and the launch of a campaign to discredit former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s ‘State of Capture’ report. After receiving complaints from the Presidency, public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane said that she asked the police to investigate Madonsela for leaking audio of her interview with Zuma. Mkhwebane claims she has not laid charges against Madonsela, but legal minds in the country are confused by what the difference between opening a case and laying charges is.

A Cabinet reshuffle has already been suggested by Free State premier Ace Magashule, a Zuma ally.

Magashule told ANC leaders he had served under two ANC presidents – Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki and had never come across a situation where ministers would push a motion of no confidence against someone who has appointed them. He told Zuma not to allow such a situation under his leadership and that he must remove those who supported the motion from his cabinet and the executive,” the Mail & Guardian reported. 

READ MORE:  Ace Magashule to ministers who called for Zuma’s removal: Step down or get axed

Some of Zuma’s staunchest supporters in the party have discouraged the idea, however. Home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba argued that a vote should not take place on Zuma’s removal. He was backed by other Zuma allies, including Minister of Defense and Military Veterans Kebby Mapatsoe, Water Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane and Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini.

Rumours are already swirling that Zuma’s detractors will simply resign before they face being fired. Beyond the speculation, what we know is that Zuma will stay, and the gap between his supporters and critics in the ANC has grown substantially. The party is becoming more publically divided as some its most prominent members are now showing dissent.

The most significant outcomes of the NEC is that Zuma is still the president, and his leadership is bringing more division to his party as ANC members are becoming more emboldened to speak out.