By Zukile Majova
A standoff between ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile and national chairperson Gwede Mantashe over the Phala Phala fallout collapsed a special meeting of the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) on Friday.
The meeting was called by the party secretariat which is now headed by Mashatile as both acting secretary general and acting deputy secretary.
Mashatile now dominates the ANC Top Six as he represents three positions – treasurer, secretary general and deputy secretary general – following the suspension of secretary general Ace Magashule and the death of deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte.
The rest of the Top Six members are President Cyril Ramaphosa, Deputy President David Mabuza and Mantashe, the national chairman.
The Friday afternoon NEC meeting collapsed because the secretariat, which is now no longer loyal to Ramaphosa, organised it without following due processes.
In an ideal world, an ANC NEC meeting would receive a briefing from the party’s National Working Committee (NWC), which meets every Monday.
In this case, ANC officials from Parliament should have presented the report of the Section 89 Panel to the NWC, which would then take a decision to call a full meeting of the 86-member NEC.
This process was not followed and NEC members immediately took issue with the failure to follow due process.
Mashatile told the media that the officials will now use the next two days to convene the meeting of the officials and the NWC and reconvene the NEC before 6 December.
The meeting also deadlocked when it became clear that Ramaphosa would not attend the meeting and Mashatile failed to present a clear explanation.
Mantashe, a close ally of the president, was also criticised by NEC members for doing televised interviews ahead of the NEC meeting “pre-empting the outcome of this meeting”.
Mantashe told Newzroom Afrika on Friday morning that there was nothing new in the conduct of the anti-Ramaphosa faction because they have been calling for Ramaphosa’s head for two years.
Mpumalanga secretary Muzi Chirwa said those calling for Ramaphosa’s head are jumping the gun over a report whose findings are inconclusive.
“The report that has been given to us is saying the president ‘may have’ and that means it is not conclusive and requires further processing.”
ANC NEC member Tony Yengeni, a known loyalist of former president Jacob Zuma, spoke to Scrolla.Africa: “He must go now. We can’t afford to have him as our president because he is compromised.”
On Thursday night political allies of the president burned the midnight oil in a series of meetings that successfully stopped the president from resigning.
In the end Ramaphosa’s supporters in the ANC NEC instructed the president to hold his horses, arguing the report of the Section 89 panel led by Justice Sandile Ngcobo was not conclusive.
The panel said its work had been affected by a lack of detailed information from other organs of the state that have been investigating the Phala Phala Farm robbery for the past six months.
But regardless the panel came to a conclusion that Ramaphosa “may have” violated the Constitution, his oath of office and various money laundering and tax laws.
This all stems from the theft of millions of dollars in foreign currency from his Phala Phala Farm in Limpopo in February 2020.
Pictured above: Paul Mashatile and Gwede Mantashe
Image source: @EWNReporter