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'Sorry to disappoint' - Ramaphosa says ANC lekgotla didn’t descend into chaos

It’s understood some party leaders wanted to use the meeting to discuss Pravin Gordhan’s capabilities as public enterprises minister.

FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: PresidencyZA/Twitter.

CENTURION - President Cyril Ramaphosa said the African National Congress (ANC) national executive committee (NEC) lekgotla didn’t descend into chaos and division like many predicted it would.

The president was speaking at the end of the gathering in Centurion on Monday night, which was also attended by the party’s alliance partners, the South African Communist Party and Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu).

It’s understood some party leaders wanted to use the meeting to discuss Pravin Gordhan’s capabilities as public enterprises minister.

Pressure has been mounting from organisations such as Cosatu and some NEC leaders for Gordhan to step down.

He’s been accused of failing to stabilise state-owned enterpises such as Eskom and the South African Airways.

Ramaphosa said the NEC lekgotla didn’t touch on such divisive issues: “Many had thought that this lekgotla will descend into arguments, fighting and walkouts. I’m sorry to disappoint those who thought it would.”

He said the ANC and its alliance partners were united: “This is the best forum that is demonstrable of the unity of our movement.”

But ironically after the meeting, Cosatu was still adamant that Gordhan and the entire South African Broadcasting Corporation board must step down.

'STOP INTERFERING IN SOES'

Ramaphosa has warned ANC leaders to stop interfering in state-owned entities. The president called for an end to the hiring of unqualified people at parastatals.

He said the NEC lekgotla has forged a clear programme to address the challenges facing state-owned entities (SOEs).

“There should be greater and more effective attention in the operational efficiency, integrity and functionality of our SOEs as well as assuring that people who are fit for purpose are appointed in various positions.”

He said a decision on struggling SOE’s would be taken soon.

“We need to look at whether we should consolidate some or rationalise some and this is a process that will get under way.”

The president also said political interference needed to stop.

“We should avoid political interference in operational matters of our SOEs.”

He said if there was to be any interference, it should be on strategic matters and where there were mismanagement and clear company failure.