Members of the ANC’s Zone 12 region in Johannesburg believe the party’s national executive committee should not serve in the government.
Ordinary members’ scrutiny of the NEC follows its recent decision to reject a call for President Jacob Zuma to step down as national president.
Some branch members believe some in the NEC no longer serve the party but are instead concerned about keeping their jobs as ministers.
“That’s why today it’s difficult even to say the president must account, because those that are there with him they are ministers, they are deputy ministers, they are members of the NEC and they are looting with him there, hence they will forever defend [him],” said a member at a Zone 12 branch meeting on Wednesday.
Another asked for fresh faces in the NEC.
“Our leadership is very selfish, I’m sorry to say. How does it feel that since 1994 you have been an NEC member until today? Can’t you have a conscious and give other people a chance?”
NEC member Enoch Godongwana said that he is accountable for the NEC but the power in the ANC belonged to branches.
“I take the responsibility, but for Parliament I won’t disturb you, you won’t find me there,” said Godongwana, who is the ANC’s head of economic transformation.
“You know, there’s another issue about accountability, comrades… it’s quite easy for you when we come to these meetings, to say this NEC this, NEC this but we say, power in the ANC belongs to branches.”
The party’s integrity committee did not escape the wrath of ordinary members.
Despite a number of scandals implicationg Zuma over the years, he was summoned to appear before the committee, for the first time, only last weekend. Godongwana believes the members in that committee have shortcomings.
“Comrade, on the integrity committee, my sense is … my sense is A: the comrades are old. B: they do not have the technical backup which is sufficient to be able to fulfil the obligation. The task is challenging,” said Godongwana.
The outcome of discussions between Zuma and the integrity committee are not yet known but questions about whether key structures of the ANC are fulfilling their mandates are clearly on the minds of ordinary members.