While the composition of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cabinet has taken centre stage this week, the restructuring of the ANC’s headquarters is a matter which could have serious consequences on the political landscape over the next five years.
With a shuffling of full-time ministers and other members who have been sent to Parliament, a new leadership team is likely to steer the party from its main offices in the Johannesburg city centre.
With many commentators speculating that Ramaphosa may appoint to his executive trusted allies – like Zizi Kodwa, the current head of the Presidency in the ANC, and Senzo Mchunu, who is the head of organising at Luthuli House – many officials may have to be replaced.
Many pro-Ramaphosa party members have raised concerns about leaving secretary general Ace Magashule to lead the party’s day-to-day activities. They’re also concerned that he may use his authority to solidify his power base, before launching a bid for the presidency or to unseat Ramaphosa.
There are also some Ramaphosa allies who want Magashule to “step aside” in the wake of numerous allegations of corruption leveled against him dating back to his tenure as Free State ANC chairperson and provincial premier.
He has also been described as factional and divisive by some in the party.
Sources, who asked to remain anonymous, have told News24 that ANC deputy president David “DD” Mabuza would be heading to the Union Buildings. ANC insiders and analysts speculated that Mabuza may have been heading to Luthuli House on a full-time basis, as he believed this would have allowed him to shore up his power base and be in a more powerful political position.
‘I think Mabuza will win this thing’
Last week, Mabuza asked for his swearing in as a Member of Parliament to be postponed so he could clear his name before the ANC’s integrity commission.
The commission had flagged the ANC’s number 2, along with 21 others, including national chairperson Gwede Mantashe, as those who should not serve the party in the National Assembly.
The two met with the commission last week, while others are expected to appear before them this week.
“I think Mabuza will win this thing at the integrity commission,” said one party insider.
“He is likely to be sworn in on Wednesday or Thursday,” added the party insider, who asked to remain anonymous.
News24 understands that Ngoako Ramatlhodi has been proposed as a possible replacement for Kodwa, but Ramatlhodi, who said he was willing to work at Luthuli House full-time since Ramaphosa won the ANC’s watershed elective conference in 2017, said he hadn’t been approached yet.
“No, I don’t know anything about that,” said a laughing Ramatlhodi.
He said he understood the ANC president was under a lot of pressure to get his Cabinet right.
‘I will never refuse deployment’
Ramaphosa is yet to announce his reduced Cabinet, with the Presidency sending out a statement on Sunday that he would reveal his executive later in the week.
“I think once they finalise those things, they will talk to us. They haven’t come to me about it,” said Ramatlhodi.
“But I will never refuse deployment,” he continued.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said he knew nothing about possible replacements, but confirmed that up to six people had left the ANC headquarters.
“It’s Zizi (Kodwa), (Fikile) Mbalula, Pinkie Moloi, Sdumo Dlamini, Senzo Mchunu and Hope Papo. I am sure the officials and the national working committee will deliberate and deliver a report on the way forward at the national executive committee this week,” said Mabe.
He said some members of the different sub-committees had also been affected.
“We will find out at the NEC. They will discuss the names on their own,” said Mabe when asked about Ramatlhodi.
He said strengthening the ANC headquarters was in line with its 2017 conference resolutions.
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