Stormy 50-50 ratio issue for NEC roles is adopted

Eric Naki

Eric Naki

The ANC national conference has adopted the controversial 50-50 ratio for male and female representation in the party, ending a period of high drama and serious exchange of strong words by leaders of the tripartite alliance.

The party's general-secretary, Kgalema Motlanthe, told a media briefing that 50percent of the national executive to be elected this week would be women.

Earlier, an ANC source said the issue was adopted without any hurdles after consensus was reached about the policy not being applied strictly to the party's top six positions.

It was, however, agreed that half (50percent) of the NEC would comprise women.

The conference decision is seen as a victory for the Thabo Mbeki camp, which had been advocating for women to be elevated to top positions in the ANC.

The Mbeki side had proposed three women candidates - Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for deputy president, Thoko Didiza for deputy general-secretary and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka for treasurer-general.

The Jacob Zuma side had only two women - Baleka Mbete for national chairman and Thandi Modise for deputy general-secretary.

Motlanthe also confirmed that the conference had agreed that of the 80 national executive committee members to be elected, half of them had to be women.

There was debate on whether the policy should also apply to the top six positions. It was agreed that it would not be specifically applied to the top six, but that it would be strictly applied to all the the other NEC positions.

Currently, the ANC has 66 NEC members, including the six officials who are the president, deputy president, national chairman, general-secretary, deputy general-secretary and treasurer-general.

The remaining NEC members would comprise co-opted members to enrich debate.

The adoption of the 50-50 policy means that even if the conference elects a majority of men, there are some males whose names would be removed from the list to give way to females.