The ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) has taken a decision to discuss Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s proposed economic reforms report at its alliance political summit.
The party is holding a four-day special NEC meeting to discuss the dire state of South Africa’s economy and Mboweni’s proposed reforms.
Mboweni has ruffled feathers among some in the tripartite alliance, with the ANC’s partners, the SACP and trade union federation Cosatu, objecting to some of the content in the proposal, as well as the minister’s decision to compile it without consulting more widely.
Three NEC members told News24 the special NEC on the economy went better than expected, but that there was a need for further consultation.
Some at the meeting also raised concerns over protocol and processes of internal consultations.
“It got a little tense, but what really made things easy is that Tito humbled himself,” said an NEC member who opted to remain anonymous.
The first insider said there were complaints about the consultation process, but that Mboweni, who said sorry to the ANC’s top 6 following the publishing of his report, also issued an apology to the NEC on Sunday.
“He said he did it because he feared it being leaked,” continued the insider.
The paper is expected to be discussed further at an upcoming alliance summit. The ANC and its allies had agreed to hold this meeting just before Mboweni’s paper was published.
Mboweni told the NEC that the government’s choices were becoming starker and that urgent changes were needed.
The finance minister said growth was faltering and tax revenue had been disappointing, despite tax and VAT increases.
He also said state-owned enterprises posed a massive risk to the country’s economic stability.
One of the NEC members said that while there was no great debate over the state of Eskom, there seemed to be an agreement that it remained a liability and there was still a need to unpack the restructuring of the electricity provider.
“Some agreed that it’s not viable and, instead of attempting to privatise completely… maybe look for equity,” said the insider.
The president was also asked to appeal to Soweto residents to pay Eskom the more than R18 million in unpaid bills they owed the utility.
The NEC member even claimed there were no disagreements on the issue of renewable energy, saying not a single person in that meeting, including leaders from Cosatu and SACP, stood up to reject it.
Another source said the NEC wanted the proposals to be dealt with urgently and that the document needed to incorporate more micro-economic policies.
A third insider said the major issues were protocol and processes.
“No decision, no resolution. We want to have some experts appointed to broaden the scope,” said the ANC leader.
“We are still consulting, still busy with input,” added the NEC member.