Internal wrangling within the ANC is seemingly stifling the appointments of parliamentary committee chairpersons and caucus whips.
ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina was expected to announce who the party would be nominating for chairperson positions at an ANC caucus meeting on Thursday. However, the meeting was cancelled at the last minute.
Her office gave no reason for the postponement.
But, insiders say the hold up is down to internal factional battles within the ANC.
One person familiar with deliberations told the Mail & Guardian: “From what I know, the Ace [Magashule] faction said it’s fine; Ramaphosa can choose the executive, but then they want a say on who is deployed in Parliament.”
The delay could also be due to several former Cabinet ministers resigning as ANC MPs, with replacements having to be called in lower down on the election candidate list. In the past few weeks, 16 former ministers have resigned after not making a return to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s executive.
These include veteran minister Jeff Radebe, former Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, former Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom, and former Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant, who resigned on Thursday.
Former Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba and former Environment Minister Nomvula Mokonyane also declined to take their seats before they were sworn in as MPs.
There’s also still question about who will be chosen as the National Assembly’s Chair of Chairs. Mokonyane was tipped by the ANC’s National Executive Committee to take the position.
The House Chairperson of Committees, or Chair of Chairs as it is known, is a relatively powerful position. This person oversees parliamentary committees, whose job it is to conduct oversight over the executive, government departments and institutions.
The former Chairperson, Cedric Frolick, does not appear to be under consideration after being implicated in allegedly accepting donations from Bosasa. These revelations were made by former company executive Angelo Agrizzi while testifying at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) says it’s not holding its breath on whether the ANC will offer it the chairpersonship of Parliament’s key standing committee on public accounts (Scopa).
The ANC has thus far made no indication on who will take the lead and chair parliamentary committees.
Committees have been described as the “engine room” of the legislature where the real work of crafting legislation is done.
Based on the composition of the National Assembly, MPs have decided that each portfolio committee will consist of 11 members. Each committee will be made up of six from the ANC, two from the DA, one from Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), and two members from other smaller parties.
Meanwhile, the DA says it no closer to knowing whether it will be offered the chairpersonship of the key Standing Committee on Public Accounts. Last month, the governing DA in the Western Cape Legislature offered the SCOPA chairpersonship to the ANC as a gesture of goodwill.
Traditionally, Scopa — Parliament’s public spending watchdog — is offered to the official opposition party. But in recent years the ANC opted to give the position to a minor political party in the National Assembly, with the DA reciprocating in the Western Cape, until now.
The ANC in the province accepted the offer, saying it wanted to turn a new leaf in oppositional politics. “There’s been no word from the ANC yet [on that being reciprocated],” said DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen.
“Certainly we’ve had some informal discussions with some in the ANC. And I understand there are two schools of thought. One’s saying it’s going to the EFF, which is a favourite of the Magashule faction. And another saying they should do the right thing and give it to the DA,” he said.