In a media briefing on Saturday, the spokesperson of the ANC, Jackson Mthembu, confirmed that the the top decision-making body of the ANC, the National Executive Committee, would discuss the Public Protector’s report on the security upgrades at President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home. He was speaking against the background of the the ongoing NEC meeting in Pretoria.
Mr Mthembu said that the top NEC would discuss the Thuli Madonsela report on Nkandla as one of the items on the agenda. He, however, would not be drawn to divulge any details of what this elite body would discuss on Nkandla. The Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, compiled and presented a report which found that the president unduly benefitted from the ‘security upgrades’ to his Nkandla home. She further recommended that president Zuma should pay some of the money that was used in these upgrades back to the state. The ANC has come out in support of their leader with some sections of the ruling party even calling for the resignation of the senior public advocate.
Another item that will also grace the agenda of the NEC is that of elections. While their spokesperson did not volunteer any details on what would be discussed, speculation is high in the media fraternity that the highest decision making body in the ruling party would take stock of strategies adopted and used so far with a view to improving them. The ANC is facing the biggest election since the advent of democracy with one member of the Tripartite Alliance facing problems of its own. The Congress of South African Trade Unions is currently embroiled in internal conflicts that saw its secretary general getting suspended and one of its member unions threatening to pull out of the mother body. Under any circumstances, this would call for very in-depth discussion.
Mthembu could neither deny nor confirm whether the so called Guptagate Scandal was on the agenda. He said that some delegates could bring the subject up during the course of the meeting. The Gupta family are friends of President Jacob Zuma whose plane was apparently granted permission to land at the Waterkloof military airbase. Several fingers were pointed at the president, who denied any knowledge of the incident. Consequently, several military chiefs were disciplined. There are chances that it may come up despite the fact that it would be an uncomfortable subject for the ‘Number One’.
A subject that will clearly not be broached at the top brass ANC meeting is that of the e-tolls. The government has set up high tech equipment on the Gauteng major roads with the aim of charging road tolls to users. A huge outcry from the civic society has focussed on the fact that this will result in the increase on basic commodities and make life even more difficult for the poor. Added to this is the fact that the system is fraught with glaring irregularities, this is a headache and an embarrassment for the ruling party. However, the spokesman for the ruling party stated in no uncertain terms that the subject was not up for discussion at this all important meeting of the ANC top ranking officials. It remains to be seen what the meeting will discuss and what impact this will have on the elections and indeed, the future of this great nation.