ANC alliance partners to meet over Magashule 'coup'

The appointment of portfolio committee chairs has been stalled by mass resignations of former ministers on the ANC’s benches in the National Assembly.

FILE: Former President Jacob Zuma (right) joined ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule (centre) on the campaign trail in KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: @MYANC/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG – Eyewitness News has learnt that an alliance secretariat meeting would be held later on Tuesday to address allegations that African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Ace Magashule was planning to install former President Jacob Zuma’s loyalists as parliamentary portfolio committee chairs.

Among others, the meeting would be attended by Magashule's deputy Jessie Duarte, Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali and the South African Communist Party (SACP)’s Solly Mapaila.

The appointment of portfolio committee chairs has been stalled by mass resignations of former ministers on the ANC’s benches in the National Assembly.

However, in what was seen as a bid to weaken President Cyril Ramaphosa’s power base, The Sunday Times reported that Magashule had in the background picked among Zuma loyalists including former North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo and former Department of Public Service and Administration Minister Faith Muthambi for the influential positions.

Multiple sources have confirmed to EWN that the secretariat meeting will address Cosatu and SACP’s concerns about the portfolio committee appointments.

The parties were said to have expressed strong interest in the process as the committee chairpersons control how the parliamentary structures conducted oversight over ministers and other senior government officials.

A source said if Magashule was allowed to have his way, this could prove detrimental to Ramaphosa’s administration.

The secretariat meetings were meant to be held twice a month, however, in the wake of divisions within the alliance, they have not taken place.


Nearly a month after Parliament convened to elect Ramaphosa, the ANC has yet to decide on who will chair its oversight committees amid reports that factional in-fighting was at the heart of the delay.

Committee chairpersons wield substantial power in Parliament and who got what post would be a significant indicator as to who holds sway. Meanwhile, the official opposition Democratic Alliance said Parliament’s ability to get up and running was being affected.

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said: "There’s a deep dysfunction that’s set in – by this time, we had committees in the fifth Parliament, we knew who the chairpersons were going to be, and the committees were able to get down to work.

“There seems to be complete inertia here and it's obviously down to what can only be described as turmoil and in-fighting within the ANC over control of who’s going to be committee chairs and who's going to whip in this new Parliament.”

Steenhuisen was particularly keen to see who would chair the justice committee, to which the National Assembly speaker had referred his request for an inquiry into Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office for consideration.