Former president Jacob Zuma, Covid-19 vaccines and the step-aside resolution are expected to dominate the meeting
THE NATIONAL executive committee (NEC) of the ANC is expected to hold another virtual gathering to discuss party issues this weekend.
This comes just weeks after the NEC held an extended lekgotla.
Closing the lekgotla on the evening of January 23, ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa, briefed the media about the party’s reflections on the fight against Covid-19, reviving the economy, fighting corruption and renewing the governing party.
Just three weeks later, the NEC is expected to meet again and the discussion points are expected to change drastically.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe, however, said the agenda has not yet been finalised and would be done on the day they kick off their meeting.
The agenda is, however, expected to range from issues pertaining to former president Jacob Zuma to secretary-general Ace Magashule and the Covid-19 vaccines.
Here are the five things that will likely dominate the meeting:
1. Jacob Zuma
On Monday last week, Zuma announced that he intended to defy a Constitutional Court ruling that ordered him to appear and answer questions before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.
In his announcement, Zuma said he was no longer prepared to appear before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo and he said he was prepared to go to jail.
Zuma’s stance is believed to have divided the ruling party, as some feel he is being victimised. In Zuma’s corner is the MKMVA and RET forces, which have already openly backed him.
Ramaphosa, on the other side, said Zuma should be given time and space to reconsider his stance.
In a statement on Monday, the ANC Veterans League, led by Dr Snuki Zikalala, without naming Zuma, called for the former president to appear before the commission.
“On the Zondo commission, the ANCVL expects all ANC members to comply with the decision of the ANC that its members should co-operate fully with the commission,” it said.
Last week, Mabe confirmed that the Zuma debacle would feature during their discussions.
2. Step-aside resolution
The governing party has failed to implement the step-aside resolution it took in August last year. The resolution calls on all members accused of corruption or wrongdoing to step aside from their party positions.
At some point last year the resolution was deemed to be unconstitutional when the party asked for a legal opinion. This was while others said it could be enforced.
Also seeking clarity was the ANC in KZN, which had previously suspended corruption accused former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede, and later reinstated her when the Provincial Integrity Commission found in her favour.
The wrestling over the implementation of the step-aside resolution became a thorny issue when former minister Bongani Bongo and now home affairs porfolio committee chairperson refused to abide by it. He said he wanted to be told exactly why he should do so when no court had found him guilty.
The urgent need to address the resolution also came after the Integrity Commission asked Magashule to step aside pending the finalisation of his corruption trial. Magashule is also digging in. This has prompted the ANCVL to say anyone called on to step aside must do so.
3. Covid-19 vaccine
The issue of Covid-19 vaccines is expected to be a heated debate, after it emerged that the AstraZeneca vaccine which arrived in South Africa last week was found to be ineffective against the dominant V501Y.V2 variant, which was identified by local scientists in December.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize and scientists attached to the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Covid-19 announced at the weekend that the roll-out of the one million vaccines had been temporarily put on hold.
4. State of the economy
The state of the economy and its recovery after a heavy beating from the Covid-19 pandemic has always dominated NEC discussions. As such, it is expected to feature prominently as factions are expected to argue how that can be done in an economy that is not transformed to reflect the country’s demographics.
5. Local government elections
The gospel of renewing and uniting the ruling party has been on the lips of ANC leaders since the end of the 2017 Nasrec elective conference. Despite the unity call yielding limited results, party leaders and NEC meetings have never got tired of preaching it.
The unity gospel is preached alongside the need to rid the party of corrupt elements who have crippled it – from local municipalities to the national level.
Also expected to be on the cards is the upcoming local government elections. The elections are once again expected to spark a fierce contest for the lucrative positions as councillors and mayors.
At the last lekgotla, Ramaphosa announced that the ruling party planned to rid itself of shady elements by establishing a committee to vet all their candidates. This discussion is likely to come up again.