The ANC says that the outcome to its weekend NEC meeting around the issue of whether president Jacob Zuma should stay or go was that it was distracting from the core issues facing the party – and that members should rather focus on the elective conference in December.
“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,” the party said.
The party said that “a number of members of the NEC were of the view that the ANC should listen to this call”, adding that 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 organisation,” it said.
The party said that the core issue was to have a “detailed analysis of the consequences of removing the President” – appreciating that some calls, especially those made by the opposition, were 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.”
Speaking on the possibility that a secret ballot could happen in a motion of no confidence vote in Parliament, the party said in no certain terms that voting in any way counter to the ANC’s directive would amount to misconduct.
“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 18.104.22.168 of the ANC Constitution,” the party said.
The ANC’s elective conference
The party also decided to stop beating around the bush regarding its succession battle, and that it should open itself up to allowing various branches ‘discussing names’ around its future leadership.
It said that it would be foolhardy to deny that campaigning was already going on, but said that nominations for the party’s top position would only open in September 2017.
“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.
“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,” the party said.
The party is also planning a special meeting on 4th and 5th June with its alliance members in Cosatu and the SACP, to try and resolve the problems raised publicly by the parties in the past few months.
“The NEC emphasized that we should never tire in seeking to work for the unity of the ANC,” it said.