KNIVES OUT

ANC NEC takes aim at ‘fac­tional’ Ramaphosa

Sunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - By QAANITAH HUNTER

[He] has al­ready made it known who he has pre­ferred . . . so how can he be in charge of that process? An NEC mem­ber

Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe are ex­pected to come un­der fire at a meet­ing of the party’s na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee in Irene this week­end.

Sup­port­ers of Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma are ex­pected to roast Man­tashe in par­tic­u­lar for his role in the dis­puted ANC Eastern Cape con­fer­ence six weeks ago, when a proRamaphosa ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee was elected.

The Sun­day Times un­der­stands that Zuma back­ers at the NEC meet­ing, which be­gan yes­ter­day and ends to­mor­row, are push­ing for ac­tion to be taken against Ramaphosa for be­ing “fac­tional” in hav­ing re­vealed his pre­ferred line-up for the ANC top six dur­ing a rally last Sun­day in Sekhukhune, Lim­popo.

The Zuma camp is likely to cite a 2015 na­tional gen­eral coun­cil res­o­lu­tion that bans the pro­mo­tion of slates in sup­port of their call for Ramaphosa to be cen­sured.

Man­tashe said that al­though the Ramaphosa mat­ter was not on the agenda, it could be raised by NEC mem­bers.

“You can’t pre­dict what peo­ple are go­ing to say when they talk. You can’t say it won’t be talked about,” he said.

Ramaphosa, who is hop­ing to suc­ceed Zuma as ANC pres­i­dent at the party’s elec­tive con­fer­ence next month, shocked even some of his own sup­port­ers when he an­nounced his pref­er­ences for four of the mem­bers of the top six: Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy Min­is­ter Naledi Pan­dor as his deputy, for­mer KwaZulu-Na­tal premier Senzo Mchunu as sec­re­tary-gen­eral, Man­tashe as na­tional chair­man, and Gaut­eng ANC chair­man Paul Mashatile as trea­surer-gen­eral.

The meet­ing this week­end is likely to be the last NEC gath­er­ing be­fore the na­tional elec­tive con­fer­ence.

There could be a sense of déjà vu dur­ing the de­bates; at a sim­i­lar NEC meet­ing held be­fore the Polok­wane con­fer­ence 10 years ago, then sec­re­tary-gen­eral Kgalema Mot­lanthe came un­der at­tack from Thabo Mbeki’s sup­port­ers.

An NEC mem­ber who backs Zuma said the pres­i­dent’s sup­port­ers planned to fight for the out­come of the Eastern Cape con­fer­ence — where, among other things, del­e­gates threw chairs at each other — to be over­turned.

“How could a con­fer­ence sit when there was blood on the floor and the pro­vin­cial chair­per­son [Phu­mulo Ma­su­alle] was in hospi­tal?” the Zuma backer asked.

Neu­tral­ity in ques­tion

The con­fer­ence in East Lon­don elected Os­car Mabuyane as chair­man. His win was seen as a ma­jor vic­tory for Ramaphosa’s cam­paign.

In­sid­ers said there was stale­mate among NEC mem­bers about whether to nul­lify the Eastern Cape con­fer­ence out­come or not.

Man­tashe said he could not com­ment on the de­lib­er­a­tions be­cause any de­ci­sion would prob­a­bly change by the end of the meet­ing.

A se­nior ANC leader said that dur­ing a na­tional work­ing com­mit­tee meet­ing on Fri­day, held to pre­pare for the NEC gath­er­ing, Man­tashe had faced hos­tile ques­tions about the Eastern Cape con­fer­ence.

Some mem­bers of the NWC are said to have ques­tioned Man­tashe’s abil­ity to be un­bi­ased at the elec­tive con­fer­ence be­cause he has al­ready pub­licly en­dorsed Ramaphosa.

The NWC ended up de­cid­ing that the NEC should de­bate the mat­ter.

“We are say­ing the sec­re­tary-gen­eral has al­ready made it known who he has pre­ferred to win the con­fer­ence. So how can he be in charge of that process?” the source said.

Ramaphosa’s back­ers in the NEC said they would de­fend him and Man­tashe.

“We are pre­pared to say that when Pres­i­dent Zuma en­dorsed Nkosazana [DlaminiZuma] pub­licly he was not re­buked. They must be con­sis­tent,” a Ramaphosa sup­porter said.

The im­passe in the Eastern Cape, and a sim­i­lar dis­pute over the KwaZulu-Na­tal pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee, were ex­pected to dom­i­nate dis­cus­sions.

Pic­ture: Phill Ma­gakoe

Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma, Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC trea­surer-gen­eral Zweli Mkhize share a light mo­ment dur­ing the spe­cial na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee meet­ing at the Saint Ge­orge Ho­tel in Irene, out­side Pre­to­ria.

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