Friday, March 18, 2016

No Pressure on ANC National Executive: Mantashe
Friday 18 March 2016 - 5:02pm

Photo: President Jacob Zuma is seen arriving back at the ANC NEC meeting after concluding his Cosas engagement in Soweto earlier on Friday afternoon.

Thulasizwe Simelane

IRENE, Pretoria -  “There is no pressure …”, African National Congress secretary-general Gwede Mantashe told journalists on Friday as the party’s 90-member National Executive Committee (NEC) kicked off a meeting in Pretoria.

Mantashe was asked by journalists to explain if the NEC delegates have been put under pressure by repeated calls from senior politicians to act on the alleged interference of the influential Gupta family in decisions taken by President Jacob Zuma and his Cabinet ministers.

“The NEC doesn’t work that way. The ANC is having a very important document called the Constitution. It is not about the NEC working because who is the loudest (and) when. It doesn’t work that way,” Mantashe told reporters.

“The NEC works in terms of the Constitution and it executes its work in terms of what is expected of it, in terms of the Constitution of the ANC. So there is no pressure.”

The NEC meeting got underway on Friday following a turbulent week for the ruling party.

Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas dropped a bombshell on Wednesday by confirming reports that the Gupta family had approached him to take over as finance minister, a few days before Zuma fired Nhlanhla Nene from the post.

On Thursday, Zuma told Parliament that the Gupta family had never appointed any Cabinet minister.

“There is no minister who is here who was ever appointed by the Guptas or by anybody else,” he told the National Assembly.

Earlier in the week former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor said Zuma was present several years ago when the Guptas allegedly offered her the post of public enterprises minister, held at the time by Barbara Hogan.

Gupta scandal not officially on agenda

The Guptas scandal which has rocked the African National Congress and the South African government is not officially on the agenda of the high-level meeting, Mantashe has indicated.

“There is no item on that matter, that is a standalone item in the NEC of the ANC. If it comes, it will be during the course of discussions,” Mantashe told reporters.

“I’m saying, that issue will come, if it comes in the debate. In the discussion of the NEC there is no standalone item in the agenda about all those issues.”
Mantashe said his feelings and views on the matter did not matter at this stage.

“I’m the secretary-general of the ANC. My personal views and feelings count for nought. It is the structure that is sitting now that will make pronouncements on issues. What comes out of the structural meeting is what is going to prevail,” he said.

Mantashe said the three-day conference is focusing on the ailing South African economy and the upcoming local government elections.

“The NEC started off very well. The political overview and the NWC (national working committee) report have been tabled. We will focus on two major areas in this NEC – The economy, growth thereof in particular and the local government elections,” said Mantashe.

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