Crucial ANC NEC meeting begins, but where is finance minister?

Despite the economy being mentioned as the meeting's main focus, there's been no sign of Pravin Gordhan yet.

Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - There has been no sign of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on the first day of the African National Congress (ANC) national executive committee (NEC) meeting in Centurion, where the economy, alleged Gupta influence and local government elections are set to take centre state.

The three-day meeting started this morning with a political report from the party's President Jacob Zuma.

It also received a report from the national working committee on the latest developments in the party.

Despite the economy being mentioned as the meeting's main focus there's been no sign of the finance minister.

The meeting was opened to the media after Zuma returned from addressing a rally in Soweto.

The ANC's Gwede Mantashe says they hope to come up with new ideas to grow the economy in this meeting.

"We want to come up with ideas that will help the ANC and ensure we grow beyond 0.9 percent that is projected for the country."

Inside the hall there was a jovial mood among the party's top leadership who continue to dispel reports that the party's NEC is divided over the president's links to the Gupta family.

ANC MUM ON PLANNED ANTI-ZUMA PICKET

The ANC says it cannot comment on a planned picket outside its NEC venue by members who want the president to be recalled.

Former ANC Youth League deputy president Ronald Lamola says ANC members who are unhappy with how the NEC has dealt with scandals involving Zuma will demonstrate tomorrow.

Lamola has called for the NEC to isolate Zuma and says the picket is not being organised by official ANC structures.

Mantashe has brushed off questions about the planned event.

"I'm not a member of the youth league and not part of the picket so I don't think you are asking the right person that question."