Change in the air: ANC members at the provincial elective conference in East London on October 1 2017. The party will consider an array of amendments to its constitution before the party elections. Picture: SUPPLIED
Change in the air: ANC members at the provincial elective conference in East London on October 1 2017. The party will consider an array of amendments to its constitution before the party elections. Picture: SUPPLIED

The ANC will first discuss constitutional amendments and agree on them before it elects new leaders in December.

One of the critical amendments proposed was on the election of individuals in the top six positions, creating space for the losing candidate to be nominated in a deputy position.

At the ANC’s 2015 national general council (NGC), it was proposed that to break the power of slates, the losing presidential candidate should be able to stand for deputy president. This applied to the secretary-general position as well.

This was also raised by President Jacob Zuma at the 2017 national policy conference.

It remains to be seen whether ANC delegates will be willing to break with tradition and allow this to happen.

If the amendment is adopted, each official will be voted for separately, with nominations from the floor reopened each time. ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said on Wednesday this was how voting would be arranged for the top six positions even before the amendments were adopted. But this had already been agreed upon at the NGC.

The names of the top officials would be announced as soon as the voting and counting were concluded, instead of on the last day as was traditionally done.

Another constitutional amendment, also raised during the 2017 policy conference, was the appointment of two deputy presidents — one focusing on organisational issues and the other on government, or one focusing on planning and the other on international affairs.

The party was also looking at appointing two or three deputy secretaries-general.

The ANC elective conference is set to get under way at Nasrec, Soweto, on December 16.

The first day will be spent on the adoption of rules and credentials as well as Zuma’s final political report, the organisational report by Mantashe and the financial report.

The conference will also deal with the constitutional amendments affecting positions.

Nominations will be tabled for the top six officials and voting will start on the second day along with the nominations of additional national executive committee (NEC) members.

Reducing the size of the NEC also forms part of the constitutional amendments. It is proposed to reduce the body to 40, 50 or 60 members or keep it at the current 80 members. Another proposed change concerns the voting process for NEC members.

The ANC is looking at limiting the number of nominations to 20 additional members from branches.

It is also considering a cap on the number of NEC members to be deployed to government, limiting them to 65%.

Alliance partners have been lobbying the ANC to give the NEC the power to fill more key positions in government institutions, taking away this duty from the president.

A further proposal is that the national working committee (NWC), if kept, should not have more than 50% of its members in government. It has also been proposed that the NWC be replaced by a secretariat with full-time NEC members, who serve as chairs of committees for elections, political education, policy campaigns, organising and communications, and that they work from Luthuli House.

quintalg@businesslive.co.za

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