ANC threatens removal of Hanekom as disciplinary chairperson

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said Hanekom's public criticism of the Zuma "detracted from the degree of independence expected of you".(David Harrison/M&G)

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said Hanekom's public criticism of the Zuma "detracted from the degree of independence expected of you".(David Harrison/M&G)

Senior ANC member Derek Hanekom may be the latest Zuma detractor to be axed from the party’s structures. 

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has sent Hanekom, the chairperson of the ANC’s national disciplinary committee (NDC), a letter stating his criticism of President Jacob Zuma has put the NDC in “jeopardy”.

The letter, which the Mail & Guardian has seen, was sent to Hanekom on Friday, August 18. In it, Mantashe requests Hanekom “show cause” as to why he should not be removed as NDC chairperson.

Mantashe said that Hanekom’s tweets in support of the motion of no confidence against Zuma earlier this month put the NDC at risk.

“As a consequence, the independence and integrity of the office of the NDC has been placed in jeopardy and could legitimately be questioned by comrades who appear before this body in the future,” Mantashe wrote.

The ANC SG says Hanekom’s public criticism of the Zuma “detracted from the degree of independence expected of you”.

Hanekom was the first ANC national executive committee (NEC) member to table a motion of no confidence in Zuma within the ANC’s own structures. He tabled the motion at a marathon NEC meeting in November 2016.

Hanekom was later sacked as tourism minister in March 2017 in the infamous midnight Cabinet reshuffle which saw former finance minister Pravin Gordhan ousted.
He remains an ANC MP, however.

Mantashe’s letter to Hanekom was sent on the same day that ANC MP Makhosi Khoza was fired by the party as chairperson of the public service and administration committee in Parliament. Speculation was rife that Khoza would be axed after ANC MPs boycotted a meeting of the committee because she chaired it.

Mantashe, in his letter to Hanekom, quoted a tweet he alleged Hanekom sent to Khoza in support of her request to ANC MPs to vote with “their conscience” as evidence he would threaten the independence of the NDC. Hanekom’s tweet, however, was a response to writer Palesa Morudu and not Khoza.


“Good for you! It’s important,” Hanekom said to Morudu on Twitter the day before the secret ballot vote took place. “And what MPs decide tomorrow is critically important.”

Another tweet Mantashe quoted was an urge from Hanekom that ANC MPs must vote against state capture: “Secret ballot. No retribution because no one will know how you voted. But this must be a vote against state capture!”.

The Mail & Guardian reported on Friday that Hanekom may be axed as chairperson of the NDC. ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa told the M&G that disciplinary action against Hanekom had been discussed at the party’s national working committee on Monday, but no decision had been taken.

ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize warned against the party setting a dangerous precedent when dealing with members who voted with the opposition, which is against the ANC’s constitution.

“As the leadership, we need to take an approach that is able to focus on the issue and be cautious in the approach. But it also is a situation that we need to make sure that we don’t create a precedent where all over people are going to say we are going to vote this way,” he said on the sidelines of the Progressive Business Forum lunch for women, in Midrand last week.

“You also don’t want to create an impression of an ANC that does not pursue issues of disciplinary action simply because there is some reasons that might make people fear moving on.”

Hanekom must submit reasons why he should not be sacked as NDC chairperson before August 28. 

Ra'eesa Pather

Ra'eesa Pather

Ra’eesa Pather is a general news journalist with the Mail & Guardian’s online team. She cut her teeth at The Daily Vox in Cape Town before moving to Johannesburg and joining the M&G. She's written about memory, race and gender in columns and features, and has dabbled in photography. Read more from Ra'eesa Pather