The ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) did not support calls for President Jacob Zuma to step down, party secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said yesterday.“We affirm him as the president of the party and the country,” Mantashe said at a briefing on the outcomes of the NEC meeting held in Pretoria over the weekend.
This was the party’s final scheduled gathering for 2016.
NEC member and Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom is understood to have raised the motion of no confidence in President Zuma on Saturday.
It was proposed that a secret ballot be held.
Mantashe and his deputy Jessie Duarte, however, said this was not how the party did things.
“All members of the NEC had an opportunity to raise, in the meeting, the issues they feel that are hurting the movement,” said Mantashe.
He said the 80-plus NEC members were allowed to speak freely, regardless of whether they were for or against President Zuma.
Mantashe said the NEC discussed the serious threats facing the national democratic revolution: racism, ethnic nationalism and monopoly capital.
These were among the issues the party hoped to address at its policy conference in June 2017.
Some party members and veterans had called for the ANC to hold a consultative conference to discuss its future.
Mantashe said a consultative conference would form part of the policy conference.
The first two days of the event would be dedicated to introspection and “self-correction”.
“The first two days of the conference will be utilised to assess the state of the organisation as envisaged in the veterans’ call,” said Mantashe.
ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa criticised weekend reports about the NEC meeting and said they were fabrications.
According to some reports, two members of cabinet almost came to blows.
According to others, after voting had taken place, most NEC members opted to keep Zuma on as party president.
Meanwhile, a Fin24 report said the rand weakened early yesterday amid reports that President Zuma had survived a three-day attack on his leadership from within the ANC’s NEC.
The rand opened at R13,73 to the US dollar yesterday and was approaching the R14 mark by midday, trading at R13,95.The weakness in the rand came just before the ANC was set to hold a Press briefing at 2pm yesterday following the ending of its NEC meeting on late Monday.
“The fact that the rand has moved so much shows that it is politically driven,” Petri Redelinghuys, independent trader and founder of Herenya Capital, told Fin24.
Speculation around President Zuma possibly leaving office indicated some sort of political stability and the currency strengthened, he explained.
Following the new developments, the currency has taken a dip.
However, economist Dawie Roodt told Fin24 that the weakening of the rand in the last few hours is a result of a combination of factors, including the strengthening of the dollar.
Roodt said that he expects the dollar to continue strengthening in the next few months.
This will be driven by the possibility of an interest rate hike, stronger economic growth in the US and changes in policy under the Trump administration.
Roodt added that it is important to note that the rand is undervalued.
“It should be trading at a better level,” he said.
“Negative forces are keeping the rand undervalued.”
This means, if nothing bad happens, then the currency will likely appreciate, he said.
Political developments have previously had an impact on the exchange rate.