Brian Sokutu
Senior Print Journalist
2 minute read
28 Nov 2018
7:19 pm

ANC NEC was divided, paralysed under Zuma – Ramatlhodi

Brian Sokutu

It was 'a season of madness in the ANC' and the party is 'busy with the organisational renewal process to break the factions', he testified.

Former minister of mineral resources Ngoako Ramatlhodi leaves the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture in Parktown, 28 November 2018, following his testimony. Picture: Refilwe Modise

While some of his comrades in the National Executive Council (NEC) – the ANC’s highest decision-making body between national conferences – warned former president Jacob Zuma of “a toxic relationship” he had with the Gupta brothers, Zuma saw them as friends who helped him and found jobs for his children when nobody would come to their aid during a time of hardship.

This was said today by former mineral resources minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi during his testimony before the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, adding: “He [Zuma] would not budge on this question.”

So compromised was Zuma as the country’s president, that his daily appointments diary was controlled by secretaries at the Union Buildings and at the Saxonwold Gupta family compound.

“An old comrade Jabu Ngwenya once told me that the Guptas had a full-time secretary at their Saxonwold home whose duty was to handle the president’s diary.

“This made it possible for the Guptas to interrupt his official diary in the Presidency to summon him. And he would come running,” said Ramathodi.

Asked by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo whether there was any intervention the NEC could make to change the status qou, Ramatlhodi painted a picture of an NEC divided along factional lines, with the majority supporting Zuma.

Said Ramatlhodi: “It was a season of madness in the ANC. The NEC owned up to Zuma’s mistakes and the balance of power was in his favour.

“It was a paralysed organisation and it took last year’s Nasrec national conference to remedy the situation.

“We are now busy with the organisational renewal process to break the factions that exist in the ANC.

“That is not easy because factions grow like a tree with patronage networks being at the top. To address this scourge, political education is not enough.”

He said it was important to amend policy to ensure that the NEC operated more democratically – a break with the Zuma past.

“It is important to amend policy on how the NEC takes decisions, with no one person making the final decision, as it was before.

“To arrive at a decision, it may be important to consider voting as a mechanism to take resolutions.

“The role of the secretary-general becomes important because he records minutes of NEC meetings.”

Ramatlhodi said people like then tourism minister Derek Hanekom and public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan found themselves among those fired by Zuma from government during last year’s Cabinet reshuffle, for initiating an NEC vote of no confidence in the president.

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