[DEBATE] : ANC rocks boat over picking new premiers, (Cape Argus)
gus.gosling at gmail.com
Wed Apr 29 08:26:38 BST 2009
Is there anything to this, or just the usual FUD?
ANC rocks boat over picking new premiers
By Carien du Plessis
With the date for the swearing-in of premiers rapidly approaching, the ANC's
new rules for appointing them are threatening to cause rifts between the
ruling party and its alliance partners.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe on Monday refused to discuss the
matter, saying only that the party would have its eight candidates ready by
next Wednesday (May 6), when Parliament and provincial legislatures have
their first sitting.
It is, however, understood that a special meeting of the ANC's national
executive committee (NEC) will be held before the end of the week to decide
on the matter.
The party resolved at its 2007 national conference in Polokwane that the
president would no longer be responsible for appointing premiers, and that
in each province controlled by the ANC, three names would be submitted by
provincial structures for the national NEC to choose from.
ANC structures in all nine provinces had already submitted their candidates
for the premierships ahead of the elections, but the NEC will now only have
to deal with eight as the DA won the Western Cape, where party leader Helen
Zille will become the premier.
But the ANC is faced with serious internal battles over the issue of who
will lead government in various provinces, where the party, Cosatu and the
SA Communist Party are at odds over some of the candidates.
Cosatu in the Eastern Cape has declared "war" after SACP national treasurer
Phumulo Masualle was left off the shortlist sent by the provincial executive
committee to the NEC, and the word is that current premier, Mbulelo Sogoni,
is a favourite to retain his position.
Cosatu's decision to hold its national May Day rally in East London this
Friday, which will be addressed by ANC leader Jacob Zuma, is seen by some as
a way of drawing attention to their grievances in the province.
A senior NEC member has admitted that delegates to the ANC's policy
conference in 2007 might have shot themselves in the foot in taking the
powers of appointing premiers away from the president, as this now had the
potential to become the source of even bigger divisions within the party.
He told Independent Newspapers that the premier issue was decided out of
anger against the choices former president Thabo Mbeki made in this regard.
A number of ANC leaders at national and provincial level said they felt that
the final decision should be up to the ANC, and not its alliance partners.
One said that if Cosatu and the SACP wanted to make decisions such as these,
they should contest elections on their own.
Another source of possible division is the gender issue.
The ANC Women's League has previously expressed its preference for at least
half of the premiers to be women, but some provincial leaders have said that
the 50:50 gender equity principle would have to be applied within each
province, and not across provinces. This would eliminate the need for half
the premiers to be women. This issue could pit provinces against the
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