The most coveted spots at the elective conference, where horse trading, power jostling and political manoeuvring is currently taking place in preparation for this weekend’s 54th elective conference, are the positions of president and deputy president, national chairperson, secretary-general and deputy secretary (the two only full-time positions as per the constitution) and the treasurer-general.
However, there are 80 more spots up for grabs in the powerful national executive committee (NEC). It is “the highest organ of the ANC between national conferences, and has the authority to lead the organisation, subject to the provisions of this constitution” by the party itself on its website.
Key responsibilities of the NEC include carrying out the decisions and instructions of the national conference and the national general council, issuing and sending directives and instructions to and receive reports from the provinces, supervising and directing the work of the ANC and all its organs, including national, provincial and local government caucuses.
It is also tasked with ensuring that the provincial, regional and branch structures of the ANC function democratically and effectively. It may suspend or dissolve a PEC where necessary, appoint an interim instruction during the suspension of the PEC as well as overseeing the elections of a new PEC.
The NEC also supervises the work of the Veterans’ League, Women’s League and the Youth League. It can also establish departments and set up committees when it deems it appropriate.
It manages and controls all the national and international property and assets of the ANC. The structure may also convene a Policy Conference, as a recommendation-making body on any matter of policy, whenever it deems necessary.
After the top six is nominated separately, the business of populating this structure will get under way. The outgoing 107-member NEC is made up of the top six; ex-officio members constituted of chairpersons and secretaries from all nine provincial executive committees (PECs); the president and secretary-general of the ANC Women’s League; the president and secretary-general of the ANC Youth League; the president and secretary-general of the ANC Veterans’ League; and “five additional members at any time during its term of office in order to provide for a balanced representation that reflects the true character of the South African people”.
Current members who may or not may be voted back into the structure include former finance minister Pravin Gordhan, former tourism minister Derek Hanekom, prominent 101 stalwarts leader Billy Masetlha, former Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni and former parliament speaker Max Sisulu and presidential hopeful and Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.
Basic Education Minister and former president of the Women’s League Angie Motshekga, chairperson of portfolio committee on justice and constitutional development Dr Mathole Motshekga, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, ANC parliamentary caucus chairperson Jackson Mthembu and Science and Technology Minister and ANC sharp parliamentary debater Naledi Pandor, also form part of the committee.
Also in attendance at the NEC meetings are Home Affairs Minister Ayanda Dlodlo, former government policy and communications strategist Joel Netshitenzhe, SACP executive member and Minister of Sports Thulas Nxesi, former higher education minister and secretary-general Dr Blade Nzimande, deputy minister of health Dr Joe Phaahla and former minister of mining Advocate Ngoako Ramatlhodi.
Names suggested by several media reports as those expected to join the NEC include parliamentary house chairperson Thoko Didiza, Communications Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi, MP and former Ekurhuleni mayor Mondli Gungubele, acting public enterprises portfolio committee chairperson Zukiswa Rantho, MP Yvonne Phosa, former police commissioner and deputy minister Bheki Cele and deputy minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.