SOUTH Africa’s economic cluster ministers, including Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, were expected to be voted into the African National Congress (ANC’s) national executive committee (NEC) on Wednesday afternoon, while those who opposed President Jacob Zuma’s second-term bid were likely to get the chop.
Mathews Phosa, Tokyo Sexwale and Fikile Mbalula were expected to drop out of the committee as their names did not appear on the Zuma camp’s block voting list, which was distributed to delegates as they started voting on Wednesday morning.
Mr Gordhan, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel and Tito Mboweni, former governor of the Reserve Bank, are likely to be elected. Their election is meant to strengthen the ANC’s economic policy muscle as the party tries to push its drive to transform the economy and fight poverty.
There was an anomaly in the last NEC team elected in 2007, as the ministers appointed to the Cabinet in 2009 were not members of the party’s highest decision-making committee. As a result, there was a lack of synergy between government and party economic planning, with the ministers often called in to brief party bosses on what they were doing in the government.
The ministers’ election could also give them more political clout in government operations, such as Cabinet discussions, as they would not be easily bulldozed as they were when they were not members of the committee.
Planning Minister Trevor Manuel has, however, turned down nomination to serve on this NEC.
ANC leaders have called for unity after this week’s leadership election that saw President Jacob Zuma’s team taking all the top spots, beating Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe’s team by an average of two votes to one.
The voting list on Wednesday suggested, however, that the Zuma team was prepared to purge its opponents.
Former Gauteng local government MEC Humphrey Mmemezi, who resigned after it was revealed that he bought a painting at McDonald’s using a government credit card, was on the list.