ANC turns attention to election of crucial NEC

The new NEC is expected to play a crucial role and its composition may determine the future of president Jacob Zuma.

ANC members celebrate as the party’s new top six is announced at the 54th national conference on 18 December 2017. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - New African National Congress (ANC) president Cyril Ramaphosa will now be hoping for as many of his supporters as possible to make it into the 80-member national executive committee (NEC) with the top six split down the middle.

The top six leadership elections saw Ramaphosa come out on top as president, but powerful and controversial provincial party bosses – Mpumalanga’s David Mabuza and the Free State’s Ace Magashule – in the positions of deputy president and secretary-general respectively.

Jessie Duarte, who was re-elected deputy secretary-general, was also part of that slate.

It is fairly quiet at Nasrec at the moment after a long night of confusion and surprises.

Delegates are expected to start arriving soon and start with the process of voting for 80 NEC members - a powerful structure in the ANC which could take decisions on the future of the country’s President Jacob Zuma.

A large number of former NEC members appear on the nomination list and are expected to be returned to the crucial structure.

Nominations for the structure started on Monday night, with Police Minister Fikile Mbalula, former ANCYL deputy president Ronald Lamola, Joel Netshitenzhe, Ayanda Dlodlo, Malusi Gigaba, Baleka Mbete and Zweli Mkhize at the top of the nomination list.

Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma also accepted a nomination to serve in this structure, together with the controversial Carl Niehaus, who was one of her chief campaigners. Self-confessed assaulter former deputy Higher Education Minister Mduduzi Manana is also on the list.

Former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and former ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa also accepted nominations.

Analysts say that without significant support in the NEC, the highest decision-making body between conferences, Ramaphosa might struggle to stamp his authority on the party.