In an apparent move to accommodate the losing hopefuls at its upcoming national conference, the African National Congress is proposing two deputy president positions.
This is seen as a move by the party to avert the winner-takes-all scenario and to ensure the losers have a place in the expanded national executive committee.
The approach would also see the conference adopting the suggestion of two posts of deputy secretary-general, which could be filled by a members from both camps.
Head of ANC subcommittee on organisational development Fikile Mbalula said the organisation was proposing to expand the NEC top six to include two deputy presidents and two deputy secretaries-general. Should this be adopted at the conference, the top brass of the party would comprise at least eight officials.
The move is seen as strategy to avoid one of the two camps of the leading presidential hopefuls – Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma – taking all the positions at the party elections.
There is a likelihood that a consensus could be reached in which the two proposed positions were reserved to accommodate members of the losing camp.
Mbalula also revealed that among other proposals was for the NEC to be reduced from 80 members to between 40 and 60 members. The party also proposed the appointment for the electoral revolutionary council that would interview potential candidates for leadership suitability using the criteria as contained in the organisation’s Through the Eye of the Needle document that strictly required leaders to have been party members for a specific number of years and to have acceptable conduct as a member.
Mbalula said the electoral council would not replace the democratic process of branch nomination but those nominated would be scrutinised by the council.
The aim was to undermine the slate politics that had beset the ANC since Polokwane 2008. “We don’t [want] to have slates of people we don’t know, but we need people with track records in the movement,” Mbalula said.
There must be an approach where groupings were not allowed to undermine legitimate process by the branches. “The NEC’s desire has always been to abolish slates,” he said.