ANC makes changes to leadership nomination process
THE ANC provincial and regional structures across the country have been barred from consolidating their top six nomination lists ahead of the party’s elective conference in December.
This was announced by secretary-general Gwede Mantashe yesterday at the ANC’s Luthuli House headquarters, in what appeared to be a clear directive to avoid the simmering and ugly factional battles for the top six leadership positions in the ANC.
In the past, ANC provinces had the power to nominate candidates for the top six positions and to lobby other provinces to support their slate, as happened at the elective conference in Mangaung in 2012.
At that conference, the Gauteng ANC region was vocal in its bid to remove incumbent ANC president Jacob Zuma and to replace him with Kgalema Motlanthe, but their bid failed.
Mantashe said the ANC lekgotla at the weekend – comprising alliance partners the SACP, Cosatu, the SA National Civic Organisation and their women’s and youth leagues, took a decision to change the nomination process.
He said the ANC branches would have the powers to nominate their own list and that their leadership choice would be sealed and sent directly to Luthuli House.
“In line with the 2016 ANC national general council resolution that the branch is the basic unit of the ANC… slates must be outlawed.
“And (because) serious action must be taken to prevent and deal with the practice of slates, the ANC national executive committee (NEC) resolved to do away with the practice of consolidating nominations for leadership at the regional and provincial levels.
“All nominations for leadership from the branches will be consolidated nationally by the Electoral Commission of SA,” he added.
The ANC’s about-turn on the nomination process came while certain sectors within it have already pronounced their leadership choice.
The ANC Women’s League caused a stir within the ruling party after it pronounced on former AU Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma to replace Zuma as ANC president in December.
Cosatu has already expressed its choice for Zuma’s successor, picking Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to take over the ANC in December.
The women’s league’s announcement – made before the ANC’s January 8 statement – caused a rift within the party.
A few days later, Zuma fuelled the fires when he told three SABC radio stations that it was not ANC policy or tradition that an ANC deputy president should automatically replace a president during an elective conference.
Later, Ramaphosa, in an apparent fight-back strategy, told one of Joburg’s daily newspapers that ANC rules to choose leaders were likely to be changed at the party’s policy conference in June.
This prompted the ANC to strengthen its ban on its members making pronouncements on the leadership, but that appeared to have fallen on deaf ears.
Three more names – those of Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, ex-ANC national treasurer Mathews Phosa and National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete – were thrown into the mix, blowing the nomination race much wider.
Mantashe has labelled these pronouncements as mere speculation, saying “it is just dreams until the branches of the ANC have nominated them.
“It is short-term happiness. In line with the ANC constitution, 90% of delegates at the conference will be from the branches, elected at properly constituted branch general meetings.
“The NEC was resolute that no person who is a member in good standing at the cut-off date at the end of April 2017 for the purposes of auditing will be denied the right to participate in the life of the organisation,” Mantashe said.
ANC membership audits would take place in May and June, while audit queries and complaints would be dealt
Branches to choose their candidates later this year
with in July and August, and branches would meet in September and October to nominate their leadership choices.
REINING COMRADES IN: ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe addresses the media at Luthuli House.