The leaked minutes of the ANC National Working Committee suggest it is mobilising around President Jacob Zuma to support him.
The minutes in bullet form also suggest that ANC leaders who met yesterday want to silence any opposition within the party and are unhappy with criticism of Zuma that dominated Ahmed Kathrada’s funeral.
The minutes criticise the SA Communist Party and trade union federation Cosatu‚ who spoke out against Zuma’s leadership and the party’s Integrity Commission‚ which called on Zuma to resign in December.
The bullet point summary of the meeting reveals a call for unity in the party. It also suggests that the NWC spoke about stopping ANC leaders from voting against Zuma in parliament after opposition MPs wrote to Speaker Baleka Mbete to ask for a vote of no confidence to be carried out in the National Assembly.
The minutes reveal the party felt the decision by ratings agency Standard & Poor’s to downgrade the country’s foreign debt was based on political factors and not the economy‚ but the ANC seems to think the decision was made before Pravin Gordhan was axed as finance minister. The ANC meeting defended the soundness of the economy.
The bullet points include:
• Letter raised – disowned by the IC and agreed that it shall be withdrawn
• Unfortunate actions of the Integrity Commission
• Behaviour of alliance partners hurting the organisation
• Condemn behaviour of SACP and COSATU
• Cde Kathrada Funeral – manner in which some NEC members and Ministers behaved
• Policy certainty
• Fiscal policy has not changed
• Rated on the basis of political interests
• Irreparable breakdown of the relationship between the President and Former Finance Minister
• Disassociate with mobilisation for discontent
• Overarching message of unity (not just the organisation but the country)
• Past four days have been very difficult for the ANC and the country
• Prevailing contradictions. SA problem is a class struggle. Removal of the President will not resolve such contradictions
• Decision to downgrade SA was taken on Thursday before the reshuffle
• Perceived risks based on unscientific forecasts
• ANC led government remains committed to same fiscal framework based on fiscal consolidation and the quest for inclusive growth
Political analyst Daniel Silke said he didn’t think there was going to be action to remove Zuma by the ANC.
“Jacob Zuma’s reshuffle was conducted on the basis that he felt he would be protected.”
Silke said Zuma had known he would face a degree of opposition‚ but he did a risk assessment and realised he could make the changes.
“I don’t think any suggestion of plans to unseat him in that statement.”
Silke said he believed the end of the year would be the preferred time for the ANC to change its leadership at the ANC’s elective conference.
“The ANC will look a natural occurrence to change leadership. The national elective conference at the end of the year is a natural time to do it‚ ” he said.
“If those anti-Zuma forces muster enough support‚ they could elect a substantial anti-Zuma slate at the end of year.”