Natasha Marrian Political editor: Business Day
African National Congress spokesman Zizi Kodwa and secretary-general Gwede Mantashe. Picture: VELI NHLAPO
African National Congress spokesman Zizi Kodwa and secretary-general Gwede Mantashe. Picture: VELI NHLAPO

There are no discussions under way to remove ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, the party said in a statement on Monday.

ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa said reports citing nameless sources who claimed that the special national executive committee (NEC) meeting currently under way was discussing removing Mantashe from his post, were incorrect.

Kodwa took the extraordinary step to quash the rumours by issuing a statement before the meeting concluded. This came as President Jacob Zuma’s backers took issue with the national working committee report delivered to the meeting on Saturday.

The NEC meeting continued on Monday with a focus on whether or not the outcome of the ANC’s Eastern Cape conference would be set aside.

Kodwa confirmed that the NEC meeting resumed on Monday after it was adjourned to allow the national working committee to "refine" its report on the Eastern Cape conference.

The matter is currently being debated in the NEC.

The NEC will also discuss Mantashe’s draft organisational report to the national conference in December.

Sources sympathetic to presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on Sunday said Mantashe was set to face an uphill battle at the meeting, due to his perceived handling of the Eastern Cape matter.

The Eastern Cape conference held in September turned violent and a group of delegates left the venue. The election of the new provincial leadership went ahead, resulting in the election of former secretary Oscar Mabuyane as chairman — the conference also endorsed Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to succeed President Jacob Zuma at the national conference in December.

But the faction aligned to Zuma and presidential contender Dlamini-Zuma in the province along with ousted chairman Phumulo Masualle lodged a complaint with Luthuli House, citing irregularities ahead of and during the conference.

Insiders on Sunday said the Eastern Cape matter was critical to the outcome of the December conference, where the race between Ramaphosa and Dlamini-Zuma is a close one.

The ANC’s NEC is also divided over support for the pair, with the Zuma faction continuing to enjoy a slight majority. A decision by the NEC to disband the newly elected Eastern Cape leadership would be a blow for Ramaphosa’s campaign. If the leadership is disbanded, the NEC would also have to decide whether to reinstate the ousted provincial executive committee or put in place a task team to run the province until a re-run of the conference can be held.

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