DA MP wants to attend ANC NEC meeting in his 'private capacity'
The DA says it has an interest in attending the ANC's next national executive committee (NEC) meeting — at least according to its shadow minister of finance, Geordin Hill-Lewis.
The ANC NEC is the party's highest decision-making body between conferences.
This comes after National Treasury director-general Dondo Mogajane apparently attended an NEC meeting in January this year, a move the DA said was unacceptable. When the DA probed why this had been the case in a parliamentary question, finance minister Tito Mboweni confirmed Mogajane's attendance and argued that the DG attended the meeting in his “private capacity”.
Hill-Lewis, however, was adamant that this was not accurate.
“The minister has resorted to this formulation because, I believe, he knows that it is not appropriate for senior civil servants, who are subject to the Public Service Act, to attend the NEC meeting of the ANC.
“If senior state officials can attend these meetings in their 'private capacity', then presumably the meetings are open to others in their 'private capacities', too. In that regard, I would be delighted to attend the next NEC meeting in my private capacity, to make some remarks on the topic of 'economic policy'," said Hill-Lewis.
He has since written to the acting secretary-general of the ANC, Jessie Duarte, to ask for the ANC’s protocol on private citizens attending the party’s NEC meetings.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe could not be reached for comment.
“I do not for one minute believe that the DG attended as a private citizen. He would not be invited or allowed to attend did he not hold the position in government that he does. I look forward to hearing back from the ANC about this. Since I too would be attending in my 'private capacity', I presume they will have no objection to me attending the next meeting,” said Hill-Lewis.
He added that he would be submitting a separate application under the Promotion of Access to Information Act, to obtain minutes, notes or recordings of any detail Mogajane may have said at the meeting. Hill-Lewis said this was a matter of public interest.
The DA has vehemently rejected the party's cadre deployment policy. It laid a charge with the public service commission seeking to get the cadre deployment records, an attempt which failed. The party has since taken the matter to the South Gauteng High Court
In its court papers, the party asked the court to compel the ANC to hand over complete records of all deliberations and decisions taken by the ANC cadre deployment committee since January 1 2013 when current president Cyril Ramaphosa became its chairperson.
However, Ramaphosa has publicly defended the policy even at the state capture commission.
“It should be noted that the deployment of cadres to strategic positions is not unique to the ANC. It is practised in various forms and through various mechanisms — even if not always acknowledged as such — by other political parties in SA and in other countries.
“In our view, cadre deployment has acquired such prominence in part because of the perspective that there should be no political interference in the selection of people who work in the public sector. However, international practice suggests a more nuanced approach to this matter,” Ramaphosa said.