Jessie Duarte. Picture: BUSINESS DAY/FREDDY MAVUNDA
Jessie Duarte. Picture: BUSINESS DAY/FREDDY MAVUNDA

The ANC is aware that its internal factional battles are impacting every sector of society, including the economy, its deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte says.

Power struggles within the ANC are seen as hindering President Cyril Ramaphosa from implementing his reform agenda, after years of corruption and state capture, and turning around SA’s battered economy.

This comes as the economy is contracting and an announcement by Stats SA on Tuesday that the unemployment rate had increased to 29%. 

Fitch Ratings, on Friday, cut its outlook on SA’s debt to negative, while Moody’s Investors Service, earlier in the week, hinted strongly that it could no longer remain silent on SA’s deteriorating debt picture.

Duarte said the ANC’s four-day national executive committee (NEC) meeting had spent a great deal of time analysing the economy.

“The concern we raised, upfront, was that divisions in the ANC impact every sector of our society and we are very conscious of that and ... as the ANC, our commitment is to work with all sectors of society in partnership to try to bring on board everybody in our attempt to bring our economy back on track, an economy that will work for everyone,” she said.

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, reading the statement of the NEC, said the meeting had recognised there is “certain, persistent behaviour, particularly at leadership level” that undermines the party’s unity project. 

“These include factionalism, untested and wild accusations, use of social media to attack each other, and policy positions of the ANC, leaks to media and taking the organisation to court without first exhausting internal processes,” he said.

This comes after Magashule released a statement last week  calling fellow NEC member and former minister Derek Hanekom a charlatan for meeting with the EFF and accusing him of being a “wedge driver” in the ANC. Earlier, the EFF leader Julius Malema told supporters that Hanekom had “plotted” with the red berets to bring down former president Jacob Zuma.

Hanekom confirmed he had met EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee but said there was nothing wrong with two MPs talking. 

On Tuesday, Magashule said the NEC had referred the Hanekom matter to the ANC’s top six officials to process. Duarte said the party did not make accusations against anyone without giving that person an opportunity to state their side of the story. 

“In this case, the accusation was made by a member of an opposition party. What the NEC has directed [officials] to do is  go and look at the veracity of the statements made by the EFF [and] also to look at when comrade Hanekom says he had  discussions with the EFF, [and] what were those discussions [about],” she said.

Duarte said officials would then decide on how this matter should be handled. 

quintalg@businesslive.co.za