ANC NEC set for showdown over Derek Hanekom

Senior leaders are expected to differ sharply with some pushing for his expulsion while others maintaining he did nothing wrong.

FILE: Former Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG – The battle lines have been drawn within the African National Congress (ANC) national executive committee (NEC) with divisions expected to deepen over the fate of former minister Derek Hanekom when it holds its meeting on Friday.

Senior leaders are expected to differ sharply, with some pushing for his expulsion while others maintain he did nothing wrong.

Hanekom’s future has become the new factional fight after he admitted to meeting with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) to discuss former President Jacob Zuma’s removal through a motion of no confidence last year.

“It depends on how Gwede (Mantashe) will handle the discussion as the two opposing factions will be on each other’s throats,” an NEC member told Eyewitness News.

Hanekom’s detractors are baying for blood, calling for his expulsion from the ANC.

One NEC member, who wants Hannekom disciplined, told EWN they want him barred from even attending Friday’s meeting, saying “trust has been lost in him.”

“The first item on agenda will be a motion to get him not to attend the meeting,” the source said.

Secretary-General Ace Magashule has already labelled him as a wedge driver, a charlatan and an EFF sleeper.

Party spokesperson Dakota Lekgoete said Hanekom would have to answer to the party’s structures for meeting with the EFF.

“These are serious allegations; it will be prudent for Comrade Hanekom to appear before one of our committees to explain and clear his name. This cannot be taken for granted or brushed down,” Lekgoete said.

Hannekom has told Eyewitness News he was ready to face his detractors, clear that he did nothing wrong. He wanted to “clarify” to the party his meetings with the EFF.

Hanekom admitted to meeting with the EFF ahead of the 2018 motion of no confidence led by opposition parties. He had repeatedly called for the NEC, the highest decision-making body to recall Zuma.

When Zuma refused to step down in February he was threatened with a more embarrassing option of facing a vote of no confidence to force him out of union buildings.

It appears Hanekom will have some support within the NEC, though it’s not clear of the numbers of those siding with him.

A senior leader described the saga as “a non-issue being used to distract from investigations, including [the] Estina dairy farm.”

“This is their fightback campaign and also to divert attention on Estina and the investigation (underway) and terms of reference on the SG regarding the African Transformation Movement which will be discussed,” the source said.

The ANC launched a probe into claims that Magashule was involved in the setting up of the opposition party, the African Transformation Movement (ATM).

He has also faced allegations that he was at the centre of the failed Estina dairy farm project.

“As Derek was saying, there was no harm in discussing with EFF about how they will vote to remove Zuma,” the source said.

Another contentious issue expected to be discussed is the dissolution of the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association.

MKMVA, who remain die-hard Zuma supporters, have been a source of contention within the party, with those opposing it claiming it has been used for “nefarious” reasons.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)