Waghied Misbach

Waghied Misbach

Powerful positions in parliament have been taken over by ANC members who support the party's newly-elected president Jacob Zuma.

This move follows in the wake of Zuma supporters taking over the entire top leadership of the party at its Polokwane conference, including the national working committee.

Former minerals and energy portfolio committee chairman Nathi Mthethwa replaces Isaac Mogase as chief whip. Caucus chairman Vytjie Mentoor has been replaced by Ncumisa Kondlo.

The party's political committee has also been reconstituted and will be headed by newly-elected chairman Baleka Mbete. Other members on the political committee include Mogase, deputy science and technology minister Derek Hanekom, communist party leader Jeremy Cronin and Lumka Yengeni, wife of Tony Yengeni. All are known Zuma supporters.

The changes were announced by ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe at a press briefing in parliament yesterday. He was accompanied by new ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, Mbete, treasurer-general Mathews Phosa and deputy secretary-general Thandi Modise.

Mantashe said there were no plans at this stage to replace the heads of the various watchdog parliamentary committees. Mbete said that there was also no danger that the party would interfere with the workings of parliament.

Mantashe also added that the party was not obsessed with making Motlanthe the deputy president of the country.

"We are not preoccupied with the deployment of Mr Motlanthe. We are preoccupied with the smooth workings between the party structures and those deployed in government.

"And if the issue of Mr Motlanthe arises, it arises within that context. There is no decision in that regard. That broad debate does take place within the ANC, and that debate is what we are engaged with, not the individual positions," said Mantashe.

Mantshe said the party had resolved that the Scorpions should be disbanded by June this year. The party's parliamentary caucus will hold its yearly lekgotla from next Thursday to February 3 where details of possible legislation affecting the Scorpions will be worked out.