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Motshekga not demoted

Gwede Mantashe insists Mathole Motshekga’s removal as chief whip of the ANC was not a demotion.

ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe insists Mathole Motshekga’s removal as chief whip of the ANC was not a demotion.  Picture: SAPA

CAPE TOWN - ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe says Mathole Motshekga has been removed as chief whip of the party because he is not a member of the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC).

The ruling party announced Stone Sizani, a former United Democratic Front member and 'seasoned cadre', as his successor during an urgent media briefing in Parliament on Thursday.

The surprise announcement followed a caucus meeting.

Motshekga has been criticised from within his own caucus for being "less than effective".

Mantashe insists this isn't a demotion for Motshekga.

"There's no demotion or promotion, that's why you'll find people become ministers and come back as back-benchers. That is not a demotion."

He said the party's rules dictate that the chief whip in the National Assembly be a member of the NEC, but Motshekga failed to make it onto the NEC at the party's elective conference in Mangaung last year.

Mantashe said the ANC has faith in Sizani, who served as the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Rural Development.

"He has a track record in the movement. He will be deputised by Dorris Dlakude."

Sizani says he was surprised at the news.

"It was a shock. I got to know of it this morning."

Meanwhile, Motshekga says he isn't bitter about being replaced because the decision is in line with the party's own rules.

He says he was "fully informed" by Mantashe last week that he would be replaced.

Eyewitness News understands Motshekga is in line for an ambassador post, but he's denied knowing anything about this.