The ANC’s national executive committee meeting kicking off on Friday, the first since President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed his new Cabinet, has been touted as the scene of a battle to gain control of the party’s engine room at Luthuli House.
The party’s secretary general Ace Magashule has, however, rubbished such “speculation” as being a figment of the media’s imagination.
He reiterated that the purpose, particularly of the first day, would be for the ANC to look retrospectively at the May 8 elections in which the party saw its support decline.
“There are no dogs of war as reported in the media,” Magashule said referring to media speculation that a faction within the ANC is calling for action to be taken against him.
The alleged action against the secretary general is believed to be as a result of him constantly being at loggerheads with President Cyril Ramaphosa and those close to him.
During a recent commemoration of struggle stalwart Walter Sisulu in the Free State, Magashule said some within the ANC regard themselves as being prominent “because of media promotion”.
Magashule’s conduct in the run up to the elections also raised questions as he reprimanded supporters for chanting individual leader’s names, saying there should not be one leader bigger than the organisation. Magashule also went on to accuse “some” within the party of using state resources to tap his phone.
Addressing the media during a Congress of South African Students’ (COSAS) press briefing on the sidelines of the NEC meeting in Pretoria, Magashule said it was an intentional move by the party not to provide the media with the agenda for the NEC meeting scheduled from Friday until Sunday.
“In the past, the media would know ahead of time what the agenda of the meeting would be but now that they don’t, they are speculating that the dogs of war are here; there are no dogs of war here. The agenda of the ANC today [Friday] is about elections, we are analysing the overall elections and our performance. The agenda is not set by the media, it’s set by us,” said Magashule.
He then turned his attention to senior ANC leaders, presumably Mzwandile Masina and Tony Yengeni, who criticised Ramaphosa for appointing Pravin Gordhan as Public Enterprises Minister despite damning findings against him by the Public Protector.
“The agenda for our meetings is also not set by those who tweet,” said Magashule, seemingly directing that at Masina who tweeted his disapproval of Gordhan’s appointment. “I can’t respond to those who tweet. We want leaders who understand party lines and who ascribe to the collective so we will continue to teach people, we are very patient,” he went on to say.
Magashule added that in the NEC meeting “there will not be any media” and any disputes would be dealt with among members of the party.
“There [in the meeting], we talk politics, there is no media,” he said.