POLITICAL WEEK AHEAD: ANC decisions at lekgotla in the spotlight
Government planning before President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state of the nation address was discussed, while party’s performance in elections was also up for review
The outcomes of the ANC lekgotla, which started at the weekend, are expected on Monday or Tuesday.
The government planning ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state of the nation address (Sona), which is scheduled for June 20, was discussed at the meeting. The party’s performance in the May 8 elections was also up for discussion.
Reports emerged at the weekend that the reappointment of Pravin Gordhan as public enterprises minister could be raised by those opposing the move. This follows the release of a controversial report by under-fire Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, who directed Ramaphosa to “take appropriate disciplinary action” against Gordhan, finding that his approval of former Sars commissioner Ivan Pillay’s early retirement package amounted to “improper conduct” and violated the constitution.
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Gordhan has taken the report on review.
Soon after Ramaphosa announced that Gordhan will return to the cabinet, Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina took to Twitter to challenge the decision. He said Gordhan’s reappointment undermined the rule of law and made a mockery of SA’s democracy. “This is really out of order! I hope the NEC looks into this matter with urgency,” Masina tweeted.
ANC NEC member Tony Yengeni supported Masina’s views. However, party secretary general Ace Magashule cautioned both members saying speaking in public about party matters undermined the organisation’s stance.
State capture inquiry
The hearings of the judicial commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture resume on Monday. The commission will hear testimony of Rajesh Sundaram, a former editor of the now defunct ANN7.
In 2018, MultiChoice, which owns DStv decided not renew its contract with the controversial formerly Gupta-owned ANN7 (which was at the time known as Afro Worldview). Gupta-owned Oakbay Investments announced in 2017 its withdrawal from its media interests‚ selling its shareholding in Infinity Media (ANN7) and TNA to Lodidox and the management for R450m. Oakbay Investments vendor-financed the deals, essentially lending Mzwanele Manyi, owner of Afrotone Media Holdings, the money to buy the businesses.
Meanwhile, the state capture inquiry’s legal team is in the process of identifying and consulting with other witness who will be called to appear before the commission over the next few weeks.
The sixth democratic parliament is setting up its systems to fulfil its constitutional functions of oversight, law-making and facilitating public participation for the next five years. On Sunday parliament said key parliamentary meetings are scheduled for this week to take forward the process of putting in place enabling structures and systems for the newly constituted houses of parliament.
This follows Ramaphosa’s announcement of his cabinet and the president advising National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) chair Amos Masondo that the Sona will be delivered on June 20.
National Assembly committee
Meetings of the chief whips’ forum and the National Assembly rules committee have been arranged to take place on Wednesday and a joint meeting of the programme committees of both houses of parliament is being finalised.
The rules committee meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, has on its draft agenda proposed guidelines and determinations for the sequence of standard items at plenary sittings, such as questions to the president, deputy president and cabinet ministers.
Also on its draft agenda is a discussion about clustering of the government portfolios; the formula for appointing National Assembly whips; establishment of the subcommittee on review of National Assembly rules and appointment of its chair; composition of the programme committee and establishment, naming and composition of National Assembly portfolio and standing committees.