Speaking at a media briefing at Luthuli House in Johannesburg on Monday, Gwede Mantashe says the ANC NEC did consider calls for President Jacob Zuma to step aside but decided to rather focus on unity and on their mandate of ending inequality, poverty and unemployment.
Mantashe says the party viewed calls on Zuma to step aside as an attempt
to remove the ANC from power and not just to end the rule of Zuma.
Statement of the National Executive Committee following the meeting held on the 26th to the 28th May 2017
Issued by Gwede Mantashe
Secretary General, African National Congress
The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the African National Congress (ANC) met in a scheduled meeting from the 26th to the 28th May 2017. The meeting received the Political Overview from the President, the National Working Committee (NWC) report, and reports on our engagements with traditional leadership and preparations towards the National Policy Conference.
The NEC expressed grave concern at the recent spate of brutal killings of women and children and commissioned a special presentation by the Wits City Institute on gender based violence with a particular focus on intimate partner femicide.
As a country we must consistently affirm the freedom of girl children and women. We will have been successful in our quest to build a truly non-sexist society and dealt with the brutal effects of patriarchy when in South Africa a young woman in the middle of the night, can walk alone without the fear of assault, attack or rape, going back home from wherever she comes from.
While there is no single magic bullet that will do away with violence against women and children overnight, condemnation of such behavior by society alone will not solve this problem.
The ANC therefore calls to action all its structures and society at large to become actively engaged in campaigns that involve communities in the prevention of femicide, rape and child molestation. ANC branches must actively lead a campaign to encourage the defense of the most vulnerable people in our society. We must also teach ourselves to drop the language of ‘weakness’ ‘vulnerability’ ‘protection’ and ‘women and children’ as these erode women’s citizenship. We must affirm their inalienable right to justice, safety, freedom and equality.
This campaign must assist us all to understand the value of life and that physical, mental and sexual abuse robs people of their dignity. Accordingly the following are tasks for the branches:
- Establish street committees and lead and drive a Know Your Neighborhood Campaign
- Set up early warning systems where child abuse, the rape and abuse of girls and boys occur
- Establish a single contact point in each street for reporting of incidences of brutality and violence
- Meet every station commander to advise them of the contact points and issues arising from our early warning systems
Government for its part must strengthen the justice system to better deal with cases of gender based violence. Programmes of the ANC led government must target both victims and perpetrators. Amongst others we must ensure the establishment of a special unit in each police station specially trained for this type of work. This will ensure that we reduce barriers to reporting sexual offences and domestic violence.
Our families must stop negotiating sexual cases and women themselves must stop withdrawing sexual cases. The law must be allowed to take its course.
As a nation we must redouble our efforts to reignite economic growth to ensure that women do not seek economic refuge in abusive relationships.
The ANC has met with all the three rating agencies as a matter of course and also following the investment downgrades. The key message from these rating agencies is that we need to be clear on our growth story and our political posture towards growth.
In this regard, the NEC commits to the expenditure ceiling in 2017 budget and commits to stabilize debt levels. In the meantime, we need to ensure progress in finalizing the Mineral Petroleum Resource Development Act (MPRDA) and the resolution of the impasse relating to the Mining Charter. Concerted effort must go into continuous improvement in good corporate governance in the State Owned Enterprises (SOEs).
We noted the promising work being done to stabilize the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and discussed the current challenges facing Eskom. The NEC reaffirmed that the decision to reappoint Comrade Brian Molefe to Eskom be rescinded and not to wait for the courts to direct them on this decision. Government itself encourages judicial overreach when it fails to lead when it should.
As part of reigniting economic growth, long term structural reforms are needed in education outcomes at all levels including vocational training. There must be immediate work on growth and employment enhancing interventions in a number of sectors. We must also deal with oligopolies, and pay particular attention to increase investment to 30% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). These measures will require the support of all social partners and accordingly the ANC government will, as a matter of urgency, convene a NEDLAC meeting to engage them on these matters.
The NEC also reflected on a period which had been politically hectic for the organisation. Such period we defined as having heightened levels of a state of restlessness in society requiring the ANC to develop an approach and provide leadership to society.
The NEC accepted the proposal that was tabled in the Political Report for the establishment of a Judicial Commission of Enquiry into allegations of state capture without delay. The terms of reference of such Commission of Enquiry must be broad enough to uncover the influence of business on the state. The NEC expressed its desire to see all processes of reviewing the Public Protector’s State of Capture report accelerated so that they are not an obstacle to the speedy establishment of the Judicial Commission into State Capture.
On the motion of no confidence against the President proposed in Parliament, the NEC reaffirmed its confidence in comrades deployed as Members of Parliament (MP) trusting that they would continue to conduct themselves in line with Constitution, prescripts and norms of the African National Congress.
Regardless of whether a secret ballot is granted by the court or not, ANC MPs, as always, are expected to vote in line with the decision of the Caucus of the ANC. Failure to do so is in violation of Rule 126.96.36.199 of the ANC Constitution defines an act of misconduct as:
acting on behalf of or in collaboration with:
- counter-revolutionary forces;
- a political organisation or party other than an organisation or party in alliance with the ANC in a manner contrary to the aims, policies and objectives of the ANC;
On the succession debate, the NEC acknowledged that to continue to assert that the organization was not in the grip of leadership election fever was foolhardy. The NEC agreed that we should continue discussing the principles that should guide election of leadership in the ANC but allow structures of the ANC to start discussing the names.
Such discussions should be based on the principles discussed and Through the Eye of the Needle. Nominations though will only be opened in September 2017. All these activities dealing with succession should be monitored and as comrades discuss the names, nobody should ridicule or defame any other potential candidate nor should they tarnish the name of the ANC in the process.
Umkhonto WeSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) is due for its National Conference this year. The ANC NEC has delegated 10 of its members to support and assist the MKMVA in the organization of such conference.
On tensions within the Alliance, the NEC emphasised that we should never tire in seeking to work for the unity of the ANC, the unity of the Alliance and the unity of society as whole. To this end, the Alliance Political Council will meet on the 4th and 5th June to deal with the differences and challenges between the Alliance Partners.
There was a call made in the NEC for the President to consider stepping down as President of the Republic. This we considered to be part of a broader discussion characterized by the restlessness manifesting itself in society, where certain sections have made similar calls.
A number of members of the NEC were of the view that the ANC should listen to this call. Various contributions in support of and against the appeal to President to step down were raised. Many more were neither in favor nor against the appeal but emphasized the need for unity within the organization.
The NEC sought to have a detailed analysis of the consequences of removing the President; appreciating that some calls, especially those made by the opposition, are not so much about removing the President by rather dislodging the ANC itself from power.
The NEC concluded the matter by recommitting itself to focus on the task at hand and what our people expect from us. Implementing, refining and advancing policies that solve their problems of inequality, poverty and unemployment as we move towards the National Policy Conference. We must also focus on ensuring unity and stability of the organization as part of leadership transition at the 54th National Conference.
Flowing from this difficult discussion, our branches are now directed to focus on their primary tasks, work together and ensure the ANC impacts positively on society.
The NEC discussed at length the need to reconnect with sectors of society that are drifting away from the movement. This is particularly important for those have been traditional allies of the broad liberation movement including some traditional leaders and sections of the faith based community led by, amongst others, the South African Council of Churches (SACC). We are aware and appreciate the need for decisive action from the ANC indicating renewal and our commitment to deal with issues that bring the organization into disrepute.
To this end, the NEC has welcomed the ongoing interactions with the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (CONTRALESA) and traditional leaders in general. We have also committed to continue engagements with the SACC as part of broader societal dialogue on the challenges facing South Africa.
The NEC welcomed the appointment of Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus as the new Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO). This is the first time, in the sixty nine (69) year history of this organization, that the WHO elects an African to its helm. This is a significant victory for the continent and a significant pointer of progress and reform of this global multilateral institution.
As we conclude Africa month, the NEC recommitted itself to our responsibility to contributing to the building of a better Africa and a better world. The regeneration of Africa is yet to be accomplished. Beyond our own internal challenges and interests as a party and a country, we have a bigger role on the continent as the ANC and South Africa.
The African National Congress now wants a judicial commission of inquiry into state capture established without delay. ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said the proposal was made by President Jacob Zuma when he delivered the political report to the party’s NEC.
“The terms of reference of such a commission of inquiry must be broad enough to uncover the influence of business on the state,” Mantashe said.
The party said it also wanted a review of the Public Protector’s findings. Zuma had approached the court, challenging former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s recommendation that the chief justice appoint a judge to oversee the commission.