smuts has no job

Eric Naki

Eric Naki

The ANC's outgoing head of the presidency and party spokesman Smuts Ngonyama is looking for a job.

Ngonyama yesterday confirmed that he was serving notice after the ANC national working committee replaced him with diplomat and former Gauteng safety and security MEC, Jessie Duarte.

Ngonyama had to relinquish the post as he was not elected to the NEC at the national conference in Limpopo.

ANC spokesman Tiyani Rikhotso said there was nothing sinister about the change because the position has to be occupied by an NEC member.

He said Ngonyama was head of the presidency, party spokesman and chairman of communications sub-committee as an NEC deployee.

It is understood that under the new set-up the positions will be split and Duarte will head communications and be the spokesman reporting to general secretary Gwede Mantashe. NEC member Pallo Jordan is the new chairman of communications sub-committee and responsible for communications policy.

The head of the presidency is yet to be appointed, but it was up to the NEC to keep or do away with the position.

Asked about his plans, Ngonyama said: "I have no plans. I am still looking, but I will remain an activist of the ANC."

Probed whether there were plans to appoint him to another post, Ngonyama replied: "That is unlikely, actually."

He said he did not see the exclusion of Mbeki's allies in the new ANC sub-structures and committees as a purge. "I can't define it as a purge. This is the decision taken by the NEC."

Ngonyama's office staff, which consist of his deputy Rikhotso, Ngonyama's personal assistant Vuyisa Manyandela and media officers Steyn Speed and Donovan Cloete will be reabsorbed at Luthuli House, but Ngonyama said it was up to them to stay or leave.

Rikhotso said they will miss Ngonyama's guidance and humility.

"We will miss him for his down-to-earth approach to people regardless of their status in society. He was dedicated to his work and stood for what he believed was right."